BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
Guinevere Garr and Misha Brandenburg had four RBIs each, and the Class 2A, No. 10 Whitko softball team took advantage of 12 walks and seven hit batters from Rochester pitchers to notch a 17-7 win at Fansler Field Wednesday.
Rochester led 3-1 after one inning thanks to Kylie Coleman’s two-run triple and Maddie Heinzmann’s RBI groundout.
In the top of the second, Katelyn Cripe lined back to Musselman in the circle. She appeared to have a straying Audra Brandenburg nailed at third for an inning-ending double play, but after umpires consulted, they determined that the ball was juggled at third base.
That gave Garr a chance to hit with two outs, and her two-run single tied the game. Audra Brandenburg’s two-run double in the third put Whitko ahead for good at 5-3.
Whitko had consecutive five-run innings in the third and fourth in building a 13-5 lead.
Kaycee Knutson, Audra Brandenburg and Erin Starkweather – Whitko’s Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters – reached 10 times combined.
Augusta Garr pitched a seven-hitter with seven strikeouts for Whitko.
There were four walks and a hit batter in the third and three walks and two hit batters in the fourth in the muddy conditions. The game didn’t begin until approximately 6:30 p.m. due to a lightning delay.
Whitko had six errors while Rochester had only one. But the control issues negated whatever defensive advantage the Lady Zs might have had.
“Since we had seven hit batters and 12 walks, giving them free bases doesn't make it easy on our defense,” Rochester coach Becky Lee said. “I think that our defense did a really good job for balls when they were put into play, and they got the outs when they were given, and that’s a good job to have their pitchers’ backs when the ball’s put in play.”
Musselman started, and Sydney Haughs and Emma Sells followed her to the circle before Musselman came back to finish the game in the seventh.
Haughs was the only Rochester player to have multiple hits, and her single in the seventh got her an RBI.
Perhaps the Lady Z having the most unusual day was leadoff hitter Emma Howdeshell. She went 0 for 4 but reached all four times on errors by the shortstop, and she came around to score three times.
“I think that our offense did a really good job of putting the ball in play, getting runners around the bases,” Lee said. “We had a couple stolen bases by our players, a lot of heads-up plays. Emma Howdeshell ran the bases really well tonight. So I wouldn’t discredit our offense in any shape or form.”
Whitko 17, Rochester 7
Whitko 125 501 3 – 17 9 6
Rochester 301 100 2 – 7 5 1
WP – Augusta Garr (7 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 7 K)
LP – Mya Musselman (2 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 HBP, 0 K)
2B – Augusta Garr (WHI), Misha Brandenburg (WHI), Audra Brandenburg (WHI)
3B – Augusta Garr (WHI)