Softball: It takes extras, but Warriors win
The Brainerd Warriors hosted the Centennial Cougars Friday, April 28.
BRAINERD — Ella Chaussee was confident stepping into the batters' box.
She wasn’t as confident running to first base.
The Brainerd Warriors’ senior second baseman stepped into the box with Elsa Borchert on third after reaching base on an error. Borchert moved to second after a Molly Wieland sacrifice and then to third on a ground ball hit by Autumn Larson.
The game was tied 3-3 between the Warriors and visiting Centennial Friday, April 28.
It was the bottom of the ninth inning and cold temperatures were descending on Adamson Field. A bank of dark clouds was floating toward the athletic complex.
With one out, Chaussee stepped up to bat.
“There on that last at-bat, I was just cool, calm and collected and I heard my teammates cheering me on and that really pushed me to hit a ball,” the second-year varsity player said. “We got a positive outcome so that was really good.”
Chaussee swung and missed at the first pitch. On the second, she made contact and the ball sailed over the drawn-in infield.
“I was praying ‘Please get down. Please get down,’” Chaussee said. “When I got on the base, I saw Elsa laying down and she got called safe so I was very happy.”
Borchert was safe after a close play at the plate to hand the Warriors a 4-3 victory to improve their record to 6-1. Chaussee’s ball put Borchert in a pickle as there was only one out so she couldn’t just sprint home. The right fielder had to make sure the ball hit the ground and then burst toward home.
“It was a little blooper and Elsa knew if they caught it she had to get back to the bag and so she did all the right things,” Warriors head coach Shane Jordan said. “I was yelling at her to go, go, go, go. I was telling her the wrong thing, but she read it really well and she made a great slide and we won the game.”
Chaussee finished 2-4 with a run and the game-winning RBI. Larson was 1-3. Wieland finished with two sacrifice bunts
“What an awesome way to finish with Chaussee getting the game-winning hit,” Jordan said. “I’m so proud of her. She’s such a great kid and a great student at Brainerd High School. For her to get the game-winning hit, it should be a huge confidence booster the rest of the way.
Centennial tied the game with a lone run on the top of the seventh. Peyton Corbin reached on a walk. It was the only walk Warrior starting pitcher Mya Tautges surrendered in nine innings. It cost Brainerd, however, as Jordan LeMire doubled and scored Corbin to force extra innings.
Tautges threw 154 pitches. Ninety-six of those went for strikes. She struck out 11 batters. She scattered seven hits and allowed the three earned runs. Of her 11 strikeouts, 10 were swinging. Four of those strikeouts came in the two extra innings.
“She’s so good,” Jordan said. “She’s so talented and she works so hard. She gets up for games like this. She wants to play in these games. She wants to compete against the best and it showed today. She always gives her best.”
Tautges helped herself in the third inning. With Brainerd trailing 1-0, Lacy Busch opened the inning with a double. Tautges then stepped in and smoked a triple to score Busch. Tautges followed Busch home on a Maren Ceynowa single for a 2-1 Warrior lead.
Brainerd made it three 3-1 an inning later. Chaussee singled and moved to second on a sacrifice. With two outs, Busch laced a short hit along the right-field line. Centennial’s outfielder dove to catch the ball, but when she hit the ground it bounced out of her glove. Chaussee was running the entire time and scored on the play.
“I challenged them after the Willmar win (Thursday) night,” Jordan said. “We won last night, but we didn’t play very well. Today, they responded to the challenge I gave them. They played for each other. They did everything we talked about when it comes to Warrior softball. We talked about playing together. Playing for each other and just being kind to one another. They did that today and they showed me a lot.”
Tautges finished 2-4 with a run and an RBI and Busch also finished with two hits.
“I think this will be a great confidence booster,” Chaussee said. “We can always remember back and how we played today. We can always come back and we can win hard games.”
Centennial 3 7 4
Brainerd 4 10 0
WP: Mya Tautges. LP: Riley O’Connell. 2B: Brd-Josie Kappes, Lacy Busch; C-Lily Gilmore, Jordan Lemire 2. 3B: Brd-Mya Tautges.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors 4, Centennial 3
Key: Ella Chaussee drove in Elsa Borchert with the game-winning run
Overall: Brd 6-1.
Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 2.