Softball: Rally falls short in home opener for Warriors
Warriors host Centennial in a non-conference game Friday, April 23
Brainerd’s comeback fell short Friday, April 23.
Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the six, the Warriors sent eight to the plate and scored three runs to cut Centennial’s lead to one.
The Cougars responded with two runs in the top of the seventh and after Brainerd went down 1-2-3 in the home half of the seventh Centennial spoiled the Warriors’ home opener with an 8-5 win.
Olivia Tautges started the sixth-inning rally with a lead-off home run. It was her second extra-base hit and run. Olivia Tautges also pitched two innings and struck out four.
“She’s one of our leaders and I think on that home run you saw a joy come off her,” Warriors head coach Shane Jordan said. “I loved to see the team get so excited for her.”
Centennial’s starter Maisy Dockendorf issued back-to-back walks to Emma Tautges and Mya Tautges after Olivia Tautges’ home run which forced the Cougars to change pitchers.
It was the bottom of Brainerd’s lineup that drove in Emma and Mya Tautges as eighth-hitter Meghan Smith singled right back to the pitcher to make it 6-4. Then, ninth-hitter Karlie Anderson singled to right field to drive in Mya Tautges to make it 6-5.
The Cougars ripped four singles in the top of seventh off Olivia Taugtes to get two runs back.
Dockendorf earned the win and struck out five Warriors in five innings.
“Maisy is not a pitcher that is going to overpower you with speed,” Centennial head coach Rick Thomas said. “She’s really good with her spots and her spins. Tonight, she was like that. Her screwball was really on and was a key for her tonight.”
Helene Krage came on in relief of Dockendorf and allowed the RBI hits to Smith and Anderson. She also struck out three in the last two innings to close out the Warriors and earn the save.
The Cougars tagged Brainerd’s starter, Emma Tautges, for four runs in the top of the first inning.
Centennial’s catcher Bryn Ruhberg ripped one of her three hits for a double to start the first-inning rally.
“Bryn’s been hot just, in general, this year,” Thomas said. “She’s seeing the ball really well and hitting the ball really well. Our top-half of the order came up big in tonight’s game.”
Abby Lohse followed Ruhberg with a triple to drive in courtesy runner Alyssa Schumacher.
Ringen scored on a Syd Chappietta ground out to first to make it 4-0 before the Warriors touched their bats.
“Coming off the bus we had about 40 minutes to warm up, so we were kind of rushing through but the first inning was big,” Thomas said. “To come out and put four up is the most we’ve put up in our four games. It was huge for us coming down the stretch. It got our girls fired up early on and we were able to hold on in that seventh inning.”
The Warriors responded quickly in the bottom of the first with a run on an Emma Tautges single that plated Josie Kappes.
Another Emma Tautges single in the third inning scored Olivia Taugtes who doubled right before her.
Emma Tautges only lasted two innings before eighth grader Mya Tautges came on in relief.
Mya Tautges retired seven batters in a row before three singles in the fifth extended Centennial’s lead 6-2. Mya Tautges did strike out the side that inning.
“She came and hit her spots,” Jordan said of Mya Tautges. “She threw hard. Changed her speed. But most of all she had confidence. All three of our pitchers today did a good job of hitting their spots and challenging hitters.”
The loss was Brainerd’s first of the year in their first home game since 2019. The Warriors are home again Tuesday, April 27, against St. Cloud Tech.
“There were a lot of emotions coming back on the home field,” Jordan said. “Not just for the kids, but for us coaches as well. It’s good to be home and on our field.”
Centennial 8 13 0
Brainerd 5 8 1
WP: Maisy Dorkendorf. LP: Emma Tautges. 2B: Brd-Olivia Tautges, Rachel Trusty; C-Bryn Rushberg. 3B: C-Abby Lohse, Maddy Ringen. HR: Brd-Olivia Tautges.
Centennial 8, Warriors 5
Key: Centennial gets four runs in the first and two in the seventh to spoil Warriors’ home opener.
Overall: Brd 3-1
Next: Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 27.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.