MW SOFTBALL: Lady Jays sweep Warriors in DH
WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota West Lady Jays softball team improved its overall record to 5-4 with a doubleheader sweep of the Ridgewater Warriors Wednesday afternoon at the Minnesota West Athletic Complex.
The Lady Jays, who moved to 3-1 in the MCAC Southern Division standings, claimed the first game in five innings, 11-3, before holding off the Warriors (5-6, 0-2), 11-8, in Game 2.
"This is huge," MW head coach Rosalie Hayenga-Hostikka said following the sweep. "You always want to win at home. Ridgewater has a great program and is one of top teams in the league every year.
"I don't think we've ever swept them during my tenure as coach. That's just huge and shows that we can play with anybody."
Minnesota West pounded out 22 hits on the day, including seven extra-base hits. The Lady Jays scored at least one run in each inning save for the bottom of the first in Game 2. Seven of those innings saw the Lady Jays score two or more runs.
Christine Kazemba earned both pitching wins, totaling 12 innings. She allowed one earned run on six hits in the opener and four earned runs on 11 hits in the nightcap. The freshman hurler struck out nine Warriors on the day, while issuing no walks.
"We couldn't do it without Christine," Lady Jays' third baseman Cheyenne Platz said. "She's the heart and soul of this team. Without her pitching, we wouldn't be the same team."
Platz belted a three-run homer in the opener that helped Minnesota West push the Warriors past the eight-run threshold in the bottom of the fourth. Platz added a double in each game and finished 4-for-7 with four RBIs and four runs.
"These are two really big wins," Platz said. "For me, and for a lot of girls on the team, beating Ridgewater is always something that we want to do. It's a big, big, big win in the conference and it's nice to start out and show that we do have power and we do have a good team."
Game 1 Minnesota West 11,
Ridgewater 3 (5 innings)
After Kazemba set Ridgewater down in order to start the day, the Lady Jays immediately spotted their pitcher three runs.
Alayna Hall opened the bottom of the first with a walk and stole second before Jess Hermeling (2-for-2 with three runs) moved Hall to third with a bunt single. Stephanie Behrens (1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI) plated Hall for the game's first run with a ground-rule double into the right-field corner, Kazemba (2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs) singled home Hermeling and Behrens scored the third run on a Ridgewater error.
Jenny Majerus walked and scored on an error in the second to make it 4-0 before the Warriors scratched a run across in the third, which was aided by a MW error.
However, the Lady Jays used three hits and three walks, along with seven wild pitches by Ridgewater pitcher Brittany Jensen (seven earned runs on 11 hits, six walks and three strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings), to score four runs in their half of the third. Platz (2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs) doubled home Hermeling in the inning, while Kazemba plated Platz with an RBI single.
After a pair of MW errors and a Brenna Holwerda double in the fourth helped Ridgewater cut the deficit to 8-2, Platz delivered her three-run blast to center in the bottom half that scored Hermeling and Behrens.
Brooke Carlson (2-for-3) completed the game's scoring by belting a homer to center to pull Ridgewater within eight with two outs, but Kazemba answered by striking out her fifth Warrior of the game for the 11-3 win.
"She was stellar," said MW catcher Hall of Kazemba's pitching. "Coach was calling the pitches and she was pitching them exactly where they needed to be.
"If they were a left-side batter, she was hitting the right side of the zone just perfectly. She threw a couple of off-speed pitches that really got them. She can throw a dropball really well. She was phenomenal."
Hall was named Southern Division Co-Player of the Week last week as she batted 4-for-7 with two triples, two RBIs and three runs in Saturday's split with St. Cloud Tech.
Game 1 R H E
Ridgewater 001 11 -- 3 6 4
Minnesota West 314 3X -- 11 7 4
Minnesota West 11,
The Warriors claimed an early lead in the nightcap as Brielle Hauge (2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs), Carlson (2-for-4 with a home run and two runs) and Holwerda (2-for-4 with an RBI) each hit two-out singles to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
However, Kazemba retired 10 of the next 11 Ridgewater batters, while the Lady Jays tied the game with two in second before taking the lead with a run in the third and stretched it to 7-2 with four runs in the fourth.
Ridgewater's attempts to cut the deficit late were repelled each time by Minnesota West. The Lady Jays replied to two Warrior runs in the fifth with two of their own, while a Carlson sixth-inning round-tripper -- her second of the doubleheader -- was answered by two more runs by the hosts. With an 11-5 MW lead entering the final inning, the Warriors plated three for the 11-8 final.
Behrens (double) and Kazemba (triple) each went 4-for-4 with an extra-base hit, two runs and two RBIs. The two combined for eight of MW's 15 hits in Game 2.
Hayenga-Hostikka had slightly adjusted the Lady Jays' lineup from previous games for Wednesday's twin bill and it proved to be a good combination.
"I thought it was a better mix of speed-power-speed and it worked perfectly," Hayenga-Hostikka said. "Alayna and Jess give us a lot of speed at the top, while Steph is a combo of speed and power and Cheyenne is power behind her. I moved Christine down to give us a little more speed towards the bottom of the lineup and it really worked well."
Lindsey Drooger (RBI) and Platz (double) each added two hits and an RBI, while Hall, Macey Edwards (double and two RBIs) and Kari Suby all collected a hit for the Lady Jays.
Jessie Kalenberg, who had an RBI triple and scored two runs, took the loss for the Warriors, allowing 11 earned runs on 15 hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.
Minnesota West returns to action Friday with a home doubleheader that starts at 3 p.m. with Riverland.
Game 2 R H E
Ridgewater 200 021 3 -- 8 11 2
Minnesota West 021 422 X -- 11 15 3