Softball: Warriors, Tautges unload on Bemidji for sweep
The Brainerd Warriors hosted a doubleheader with Bemidji.
BRAINERD — Ella Chaussee turned a mild-mannered Brainerd Warriors softball team into a bunch of crazy people.
And all she had to do was hit a pinch-hit home run in the top of the fourth inning of Game Two to do it.
Meanwhile, teammate Olivia Tautges finished the day 4-5 with three home runs, two intentional walks, five runs and seven RBIs as the Warriors swept the Bemidji Lumberjacks 10-1 and 12-1 in a Section 8-4A matchup Thursday, May 5, at Adamson Field.
“Ella is the cutest human ever and we all love her,” Tautges said. “I’m very happy she got her first home run and everyone was very excited about that. I mean, it’s fine that they’re not as hyped when I hit one, but they’re still always happy for me and make me feel good.”
After a scoreless opening inning, Meghan Smith led off the second with a single followed by singles from Elsa Borchert and Maren Ceynowa. Sophie Mattson was hit by a pitch, Josie Kappes singled and Kasia Kroll reached on a fielder’s choice for a bases-loaded situation for Tautges.
The senior, who started the week being named the Brainerd Warrior Athlete of the Year, took the first pitch she saw over the left field fence for a grand slam and a 6-0 Warrior lead.
“When I don’t hit very well is when I’m trying to hit home runs so I was just trying to take a team swing and have a level cut and time it,” Tautges said. “That’s what I did this whole day and it really worked out for me. I stayed loose in the box. Took a deep breath and just went at it.”
Smith and Borchert hit back-to-back doubles in the third inning. Borchert’s double scored Smith and she later scored on a Ceynowa single for an 8-0 Brainerd advantage.
It’s a compliment in disguise
Kroll led off the fourth inning reaching on the shortest of bunts only to have Tautges bring her home with a shot to one of the farthest spots in the park for a 10-1 lead.
“You can kind of tell sometimes off the bat, but the first one didn’t,” Tautges said about whether she knew they were home runs right away. “The other two I kind of knew.”
Tautges finished Game One 3-4 with a single, two home runs, six RBIs and two runs scored. She also pitched a five-hit complete game with 11 strikeouts and just one walk. She threw 94 pitches with 71 going for strikes.
“I was trusting my defense and telling myself to go at them and get ahead in the count,” Tautges said. “That is when I truly feel more loose and I’m able to throw my moving pitches. That was my attack. Obviously, after the first time through the lineup, I know who the hitters are and I kind of change my approach to them then.”
Kroll went 2-4 with two runs. Smith was 2-4 with the double and two runs. Borchert was 2-3 with a double, two runs and an RBI and Ceynowa went 3-3 with an RBI.
“Overall we hit the ball great,” Warriors head coach Shane Jordan said. “Olivia, what can you say. Ella with her first varsity home run. Unbelievable. That was super awesome, but overall we hit the ball well. We played good defense and it was a good two wins against section opponents.”
Game Two was a predetermined five-inning game, but the Warriors needed just four to improve to 11-0 and 3-0 in the section.
Emma Tautges pitched the victory. She allowed one run on three hits and no walks. She struck out three.
“Both Olivia and Emma pitched great tonight,” Jordan said. “They both did a good job of hitting their spots and mixing speeds. They’re both different pitchers. They both do different things well and tonight they were both on in the circle. We also played great defense behind them. There are still some things we can work on. That’s great. As a coach, we always want to find little things we can work on so I have little notes.”
Emma Tautges also benefited by batting behind her sister. Olivia Tautges was intentionally walked twice.
“It’s a compliment in disguise,” Olivia Tauges said about getting walked. “Yes, I’d rather hit because that’s just how I am, but it helps my on-base percentage and it’s really just a hitting compliment when they walk you.
“Then Emma knows they’ll pitch to her because they need to get someone out and then she’ll be able to hit it, too. She totally did.”
After Olivia Tautges’ first walk, Emma Tautges laced a two-run single. The second time she hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Kappes. Emma Tautges went 2-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Kappes was 4-4 with a double and two runs scored. Borchert went 2-3 with three RBIs and a run. Ceynowa was 2-2 with two RBIs and a run.
Olivia Tautges went 1-1 with two walks, a home run, two runs and an RBI.
“It was a really good week for me,” Olivia Tautges said. “Honestly, I felt a little pressure the game after I got the award so I just came out here and decided it wasn’t going to change anything. I figured I might as well just stay loose during the game. I kind of figured it out and it felt really, really good.”
Bemidji 1 5 1
Brainerd 10 13 0
WP: Olivia Tautges. LP: Aleah Shogren. 2B: Brd-Meghan Smith, Elsa Borchert; Bem-Jody Pemberton, Elizabeth Oster. HR: Olivia Tautges (2).
Brainerd 12 16 3
Bemidji 1 3 2
WP: Emma Tautges. LP: Mariah Graves. 2B: Brd-Josie Kappes. HR: Olivia Tautges, Ella Chaussee.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
Warriors beat Bemidji twice
Key: Olivia Tautges went 4-5, with three home runs, two intentional walks, five runs scored and seven RBIs.
Overall: Brd 11-0, Bem 3-5.
Next: Brainerd at Moorhead 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 9.