Tiger softball team clinches HON titleThe Tigers play at Cumberland at 5 p.m. today (Tuesday) then host Webster-Siren in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 tournament on Thursday.
For the first time since 2007, the Northwestern High School softball team has bragging rights in the Heart O’ North Conference.
The Northwestern Tigers clinched the conference title Monday with a doubleheader sweep of Bloomer. The pair of victories gave the Tigers their ninth consecutive win in seven days.
“We’ve played a lot of games in a pretty short amount of time,” said Scott Janigo, head coach of the Tigers.
Northwestern split a doubleheader with Barron on May 7 and then went on to sweep doubleheaders with Chetek, Spooner, Hayward and Bloomer.
The Tigers are 12-1 in the HON Conference and 13-2 overall. The team’s two losses both came by just one run.
Northwestern wrapped up the regular season Tuesday with a doubleheader at Cumberland.
The Tigers open the playoffs Thursday against Webster-Siren. The game will be played in Brule and is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
One day after splitting a doubleheader with the Duluth East Greyhounds, the Tigers hosted Barron in Brule for a pair of five-inning games.
Barron took game one 6-5, but Northwestern rebounded in game two for the 6-0 shutout.
Sophomore Madeline Spangenberg went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases in game one. Tiana Arseneau and Lexi Janigo added two hits apiece, and Aliex Friend and Arseneau shared pitching duties.
In game two, Arseneau was the complete game winner, giving up three hits while striking out three.
Spangenberg went 2-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and two stolen bases, and Janigo went 3-for-3.
The Tigers continued their home stand with two games against Chetek-Weyerhaeuser.
Northwestern won the first game 5-4 and the second 8-3.
In game one, Arseneau led the Tigers at the plate. She hit a pair of home runs to go 2-for-2 and drive in three runs. Samantha Clark also hit well for the Tigers, going 2-for-3.
The Tigers played most of game two with a four run cushion thanks to Abby Schultz. Her grand slam over the center field fence in the first inning gave Northwestern a lead it held for the remainder of the game.
Janigo went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, Karaline Green went 2-for-3 and Spangenberg went 1-for-2 with three stolen bases.
Game one of Northwestern’s doubleheader at Spooner was scheduled for five innings, but it ended up lasting nine.
“It definitely wore the kids out,” Scott Janigo said.
The Tigers came away with the 11-8 victory in game one and then won game two 4-1 in five innings.
Spangenberg continued her strong season on the basepaths with four stolen bases and three runs scored. She went 3-for-5 at the plate along with Arseneau, Hailey Eller and Friend, who scored two runs. Clark also picked up a trio of hits for the Tigers, going 3-for-4.
The Tigers had only five hits in game two, but steady pitching from Arseneau helped Northwestern to the 4-1 victory. Arseneau pitched a three-hitter and gave up one run in the complete game effort.
After the game ended, Janigo learned his senior pitcher had undergone dental surgery earlier that day. She came to play despite a mouth full of Novocain and stitches.
“I had no idea she had stitches in her mouth until after the game,” Janigo said.
On Saturday, the Tigers faced 36-degree temperatures and snow in their doubleheader at Hayward. Northwestern took the chilly weather in stride, though, winning game one 11-2 and game two 13-3.
Northwestern had 19 hits in the first game and 15 in the second.
Lexi Janigo led the Tigers in game with a 4-for-4 effort, including two doubles, and three runs scored. Spangenberg was 3-for-4 with two stolen bases. Collecting two hits apiece were Arseneau, Friend, Green, Schultz, Eller and Alex Bodendorfer.
Arseneau was the winning pitcher for Northwestern, giving up four hits over five innings.
Friend claimed the pitching win in game two. She struck out eight while allowing three hits and three runs.
Spangenberg was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and picked up another five stolen bases. Arseneau, Janigo, Friend and Eller all added two hits each for the Tigers.
The Tigers’ bats were hot again for the opening game of their doubleheader in Bloomer, which Northwestern won 22-4.
Friend was 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Janigo, Green, Schultz, Eller and Bodendorfer added two hits apiece.
Spangenberg had three stolen bases, stealing second, third and home.
“If she could steal first we’d do that too,” Scott Janigo said.
Arseneau earned the complete game win, allowing six hits while striking out one.
Friend and Arseneau shared pitching duties to earn a 4-3 win in game two. They combined to throw a three-hitter.
Spangenberg and Green led the Tigers on offense. Green went 2-for-2, and Spangenberg went 2-for-3 with four stolen bases and two runs scored, including the winning run.
The score was tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when Spangenberg laid a bunt down the third-base line. She then stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Clark. Spangenberg came home on a passed ball to give Northwestern the walk-off victory.