Softball: Warriors end regular season on high note
The Brainerd Warriors hosted Andover in the final regular-season game Friday, May 18.
BRAINERD — It wasn’t perfect, but it was close.
Behind starting pitcher Mya Tautges, the Brainerd Warriors played one of their better defensive games of the season to hold the Andover Huskies scoreless and secure a 3-0 victory Friday, May 19, at Adamson Field.
“I thought we played really good defense,” Warriors head coach Shane Jordan said. “We’ve been working hard on defense because we’ve had too many errors. The kids did well. Molly Wieland had a great catch down the first base line. She covered ground there. Our outfielders caught everything that was hit to them so defensively, I was proud of our effort.”
The Huskies loaded the bases in the first inning, but two strikeouts and a fly out to Josie Kappes in centerfield ended that threat.
Andover’s leadoff hitter found her way to third base in the second inning, but a pop-up to shortstop Maren Ceynowa stranded her there.
Ceynowa then led off the second inning with a single followed by Elsa Borchert’s single. Joze Tautges singled in Ceynowa for a 1-0 Brainerd advantage.
“They come into the dugout after they’ve watched the pitcher throw a little bit and they talk to each other about how the ball is spinning and which way it’s going," Jordan said about his batters making adjustments. "We were able to adjust. Their pitcher threw a little curve that got us early on a few strikeouts and we were able to learn and adjust from that and then put the ball in play.”
Mya Tautges got the Huskies out in order in the third inning, but a leadoff single to start the fourth put an Andover runner on base A strikeout, a ground out and a line drive caught by Wieland ended that threat.
Brainerd’s second run came in the third. Kappes led off with a single. Mya Tautges walked and Lacy Busch reached on a fielder’s choice that forced Kappes out at third.
Ceynowa then stepped in and ripped a single to bring home Mya Tautges from second.
The Warriors made it 3-0 in the fifth when Kappes again led off with a single. Busch smashed a single to left center field that scored Kappes. Busch’s double was the only extra-base hit of the game.
“Their pitcher had a lot of movement and a lot of rise balls and changeups,” Borchert said. “We just learned to sit on her changeup and lay off the rise balls a little bit. We did well with two strikes on us, too.”
In the sixth, Andover put runners on second and third, but a foul ball caught by Wieland followed by a Tautges strikeout ended that threat.
With two outs in the seventh, the Huskies singled and reached on Brainerd’s lone error to put two on base. Four pitches later, Tautges induced a ground ball to herself and threw to Wieland to end the threat.
“We talked about how we already had our seed for sections, but we want an upward trajectory heading into playoffs.," Jordan said. "Most of this game is played between the years so a 3-0 win against a metro area team that is a good team is a good confidence booster for us heading into playoffs.”
Mya Tautges finished with seven strikeouts and scattered six singles. She walked two over her seven innings. She threw 99 pitches with 66 going for strikes.
Kappes finished 2-3 with a run. Borchert went 2-2 with an intentional walk and Ceynowa went 2-3 with a run and an RBI for the 16-4 Warriors.
“We all saw that we needed to hit to win this game today,” Borchert said. “Our defense was good, but to win games we need to hit. I felt today was one of my better games for offense. It was definitely the best this week. I didn’t do so well on Tuesday, but I was happy with my performance today.”
When asked about being intentionally walked, Borchert laughed and said she asked the umpire, "Are you sure?"
“My confidence just went through the roof,” Borchert said. “That’s never happened before. To be identified as a player who is going to absolutely move the ball no matter what was pretty cool.”
Brainerd will face the No. 7 seeded Sartell Sabres 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, at Adamson Field. The Warriors received the No. 2 seed for the Section 8-4A playoffs. Sartell handed Brainerd one of its four losses. Borchert is confident things will be different this time.
“That game against Sartell was probably our worst one,” Borchert said. “We’ve come a long way. I don’t have any worries. I think it will be a great game. I think we’ll perform well.”
Andover 0 6 1
Brainerd 3 8 1
WP: Mya Tautges. LP: Kaelyn Polzin. 2B: Brd-Lacy Busch.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors 3, Andover 0
Key: Brainerd played near-perfect defense to deny Andover any offense.
Overall: Brd 16-4, And 12-8
Next: No. 2 Brainerd hosts No. 7 Sartell in opening round of Section 7-4A playoffs 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 23.