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Superior slides past Northwestern

Superior High School's Erika Olson beats the throw to second base during Thursday's game with the Northwestern Tigers at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex. Waiting for the ball is Tiger second baseman McKenzie Correll. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The Superior High School softball team improved to 4-0 on the season with an 8-0 non-conference win over the Northwestern Tigers Thursday evening at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

Brandie Goldberg picked up her second shutout of the week by tossing a three-hitter with 14 strikeouts and one walk.

Goldberg also struck out 15 and allowed three hits in a 9-0 win at Grantsburg April 10.

“Brandie pitched another good game,” SHS coach Mike Sather said. “Northwestern kept battling and they hit some very hard balls, but she mixed her pitches up well.”

Goldberg struck out seven of the first eight Tiger batters before walking Tori Anderson with two outs in the third inning.

Northwestern’s first hit came with two outs in the fourth inning when Larissa Vik’s line drive hit Spartan third baseman Erika Olson on the hip.

Rose Tokar had the Tigers’ other two hits, hard-hit singles in the fifth and seventh innings.

“My rise ball and change-up have been working really good,” Goldberg said. “I worked on both pitches a lot over the winter and both have been pretty good for me early in the season.”

Superior finished with 10 hits, including two hits and two RBIs apiece by Madysen Stariha and Natalie Olson.

Stariha hit a two-run single in the first inning and N. Olson hit a two-run single high off the centerfield fence in the fourth inning.

The Spartans also got two hits and an RBI from Erin Thompson; a hit and two RBIs from Hannah Thul; a single and RBI from Maddy Graham; and singles from Lanie DeMeyer and Allie Thul.

Cassidy Friend and Macey Schulz alternated pitching duties for Northwestern and eventually finished with four strikeouts, five walks and two hit batters.

“We wanted to mix it up a bit and didn’t want to let them see the same pitchers too many times,” Tiger coach Scott Janigo said. “We’ve been doing double duty early on (this season), but Macy’s going to be our No. 1 pitcher and then we can go to Cassidy.”

The Spartans stranded 10 runners on base and it could have been a few more if not for a nifty 5-2-3 double play turned by the Tigers in the fourth inning.

After N. Olson’s two-run single gave Superior a 7-0 lead, the Spartans loaded the bases on Graham’s infield single.

Allie Thul followed with a sharp ground to Tiger third baseman Allison Ruffi, who threw the runner out at the plate and catcher Larissa Vik threw Thul out at first.

“I’m proud of our team,” Janigo said. “We’re a senior-heavy team and they’ve been working hard. We knew what we were in for when you see Superior on the schedule. They have a real solid team and are in store for a great season and hopefully a deep run into the playoffs.

“For us, I expect us to be right where we were last year — competing in the Heart O’ North Conference and another berth in the state tournament would be nice. But the task might be a little tougher than in the past, but I think we have some tough kids and I think we’ll mix and match and make something happen.”

Superior took a 3-0 led in the second inning when Allie Thul reached on a bunt single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hannah Thul’s groundout.

It went to 5-0 in the third on Graham’s RBI groundout and H. Thul’s RBI single, and Superior’s final run came in the fifth when H. Thul led off with a walk and eventually scored on Thompson’s infield single.

Superior, which played at Bloomer Monday, is off until playing at Hermantown on April 25.

The Tigers (3-3) play at Spooner today and Hayward Thursday. Both games begin at 4:30 p.m.

Bloomer was 3-1 on the season prior to Monday’s game. After opening with an 8-5 loss to Rice Lake, the Blackhawks defeated Prescott 3-1 and then swept Eau Claire North 13-1 and 7-1.

Northwestern....................... 000      000         0          —   0

Superior.................................. 212      210         x          —   8

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