College softball: Minnesota West swept in home opener

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota West showed vast improvement from game one to game two Monday in its doubleheader against Northwestern's junior varsity team.

DOUG WOLTER/DAILY GLOBE Minnesota West baserunner Bailey Tish (13) pulls up short at home plate as Northwestern JV catcher Shalee Gesink prepares to begin a rundown Monday in the first game of a softball doubleheader in Worthington. Tish was tagged out on the play.

WORTHINGTON - Minnesota West showed vast improvement from game one to game two Monday in its doubleheader against Northwestern’s junior varsity team.
Unfortunately for the Lady Jays, that didn’t spell a win.
After six errors contributed to a 20-1 loss in the opener, they cleaned things up in the field but couldn’t get anything going at the plate. Raiders pitcher Sakisha Smith fired a six-inning perfect game in an 8-0 loss for West.
“In the second game we cleaned up our errors and our communication was better,” West head coach Sam Lynn said. “We just talked better. We still had a few miscues but in the first game we really beat ourselves. I’m proud of the way we came back in the second game.”
In the first game of the doubleheader, everything went fine for Minnesota West in the first inning. But in the second inning things got out of hand quickly.
“We started off strong, but we shot ourselves in the foot,” said Lynn, pointing to the team’s defensive miscues.
West, in fact, put itself in position to break a scoreless tie when, in the bottom of the first, Rebecca Kazemba led off with a hard single and Dani Hermeling was hit by a pitch. But Paige Kinley, the most dependable hitter on the team, lined out to centerfield and cleanup hitter Becca Linder grounded out to third for an inning-ending double play.
Northwestern JV answered with six runs in the top of the second inning, highlighted by a bases-loaded no-out triple by Jessica Stofferan. Seven were put across the plate in the third inning and five more scored in the fourth. The game was called after five frames.
Minnesota West got its only run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Linder started the mini-rally with a one-out line double that rolled against the right-centerfield fence. She scored with two outs on a hit by fellow Worthington High School grad Breanna Mullaney.
Linder pitched a complete game for the Lady Jays.
Janessa Wohlers shut down the Jays on six hits to get the pitching victory.
The nightcap didn’t start well for West. Two errors opened the door to two unearned runs for the Raiders. After that, they had just one miscue while playing a strong game behind Kazemba.
“The girls played well defensively,” Lynn said. “We had a couple errors but for the most part the girls fielded their positions well. We just need to get rid of a few mistakes.”
The game remained close most of the way, but the Lady Jays had no answers for Smith, a southpaw from Beloit, Wisc. She allowed no hits while striking out seven.
Lynn said her team needs to just keep swinging the bats.
“We had a lot of good hits, we just couldn’t find any gaps,” Lynn said. “We just gotta stay positive and keep hitting. Things will come together for us.”

The big blow came in the bottom of the third when Stofferan smacked a two-run, ground rule double to set the score at 5-0. The Raiders closed out the win when Shalee Gesink raced home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth.
Kazemba went the distance for the Lady Jays. She allowed four earned runs on eight hits and walked five.
West will be back on its home turf at 3 p.m. today against Southern Division foe Riverland.
NW JV 067 52 20 14 0
MWest 000 10 1 6 6
MWest 000 000 - 0 0 3
NW JV 203 003 - 8 8 0

What To Read Next
It's been a struggle for the Minnesota West men's basketball team this winter, but coach Brian Stoebner's Bluejays keep plugging away
Former JCC sports star Rudy Voss retires from SDSU football for medical reasons
ST. CLOUD -- The Minnesota West women’s basketball team eased to victory over host St. Cloud Tech on Saturday, 93-40. But it was St. Cloud Tech getting the better of the West men’s team, 84-64.