SHS softball team blanks East, goes 1-2 at Becker Tournament
The Superior High School softball team went 1-2 at Becker Tournament Saturday, losing to Chisago Lakes 9-1 and Foley 8-0 and defeating Rocori 11-0 in five innings. Rocori is ranked No. 10 in Minnesota.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior (6-3) has seven games scheduled next week starting at Cloquet Tuesday. The Spartans will then host Duluth Marshall at 4 p.m. and Proctor at 6 p.m. Wednesday, host Rice Lake for a doubleheader Thursday, then play in the Bloomer tournament on Saturday.
NOTE: This story will be updated.
Superior 9, Duluth East 0
By Rick Weegman
An unseasonable spring hasn’t been all bad for Superior High School’s softball team.
Wet, cold, windy weather has meant more time spent inside the school’s gymnasium, which has meant more time spent on hitting practice.
“We work on hitting a lot and it’s showed the last two years when we’ve had bad springs,” Superior coach Amy Zembo said. “You get those extra swings in in the gym, it helps when they get outside.”
The Spartans were in midseason form Thursday — their first time outdoors in about 10 days — drilling 11 hits in a 9-0 victory over Duluth East on the artificial turf field behind Ordean East Middle School.
Senior Jessica Lindstrom and junior Kaitlin Heinen each had three hits, with Heinen singling in the final two runs in a four-run fifth inning to push Superior’s record to 5-1.
Like most Northland teams, the Spartans were forced inside time and time again while April snows piled up on their field. They’ve practiced outside only twice this season, but still found ways in the gym to maintain their intensity.
“Coach Zembo has done a good job of keeping us motivated,” Heinen said. “We’ve played games in the gym and that keeps us excited and makes us want to do our best.”
Such as the game of softball-soccer that the team played last Friday, while yet another game outdoors was scrubbed.
“We try to be creative and do different things to keep them interested and focused,” Zembo said.
They’ve obviously used their time wisely in the batting cages.
“We have 10 stations (around the gym) and hitting is pretty much all we do the whole practice,” said Lindstrom, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI. “It’s paying off.”
Tailor Schuster, Lindstrom, Heinen and Taylor Nelson all singled off East senior pitcher Vanessa Kohl in a three-run first inning. The inning could have been a complete disaster, but Kohl was able to induce a two-out, bases-loaded groundout.
“Tonight was a great all-around team effort,” Zembo said. “We came into the game ready to hit the ball and after batting through the order in the first inning, we never looked back.”
Schuster doubled in another run in the fourth and scored on an error, while catcher Gabby Gidley homered over the right-center field fence to lead off the fifth inning for a 6-0 lead. Kohl, who was seeing her first substantial playing time since coming off a shoulder injury, lasted four more batters.
“The top of their order is tough, they really came out hitting,” said East coach Nat Brown, whose team played its first game in the area and fell to 1-6 overall. “They were wearing (Kohl) out. We got a few innings out of Vanessa and, hopefully, she’ll get stronger and we will put it together by the end of the year.”
Superior freshman pitcher Brandie Goldberg silenced the Greyhounds on two singles, while striking out seven and walking three.
The combination of timely hitting and quality pitching could make Superior a threat in the Wisconsin Division 1 playoffs. That was the thrust of Zembo’s postgame talk with her team.
“I don’t know if the kids realize how good they can be if they put everything together every game,” she said. “I think we could go really deep in the playoffs if everything is on.”
The Spartans will play three games in the Becker (Minn.) Tournament Saturday.
SPARTAN SPIN: Ella Brown and Ryan Kujawa singled for East. … Also for Superior, Mackenzie Kmecik doubled, Lindstrom and Nelson also had an RBI apiece. … Superior has sevenj games scheduled next week starting at Cloquet Tuesday. The Spartans will then host Duluth Marshall at 4 p.m. and Proctor at 6 p.m. Wednesday, host Rice Lake for a doubleheader Thursday, they will play in the Bloomer tournament on Saturday, May 10. … Superior junior varsity defeated East’s JV 7-3.
Superior.................................. 300 240 0 — 9 11 2
East.......................................... 000 000 0 — 0 2 1