Softball wins three, improves to 26-4

Sydney Mohr, Sports Reporter

Winona State University softball hit the end of the week on a high note, with one loss and three wins out of their four-game streak through Thursday, March 29 and Friday, March 30.

Their first round of games on Thursday took place against University of Sioux Falls in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with McKenna Larsen at the plate for her tenth pitched game of the season. Larsen only allowed seven hits throughout the game, four of which ended up crossing the plate in the end.

First-year Ann Smolenski and sophomore Alison Nowak each snagged solo homeruns in game one, but they found themselves trailing in the seventh inning at their last at bat. Sophomore Katelyn Kolb reached based on a Cougar mistake in-field and Larsen tied it up with a two-single run. Unfortunately, this was not enough to bring the Warriors up to score with the Cougars, and Larsen suffered her first loss in the circle since February 23.

Despite the rough setback, the Warriors were able to rally in their second game on Thursday, despite being shut out through the first six innings, and being down by one in the seventh frame.

Sophomore Jordyn Kleman pitched the second game on Thursday, and kept the shutout strong against the Cougars, as they did not score their first run until the sixth inning. She only allowed two runs on six hits, while managing to strike out five girls.

For batting, first year Jen Giesey led off the seventh with a double and moved to third on a single by first-year Kristina Ahlers. Senior Mariah Schultz provided the game tying to let Giesey score and send the team into extra innings.

Nowak, Larsen and first-year Rylee Stout drove in runs in the five-hit inning with the latter putting the Warriors in front 5-1 with a two-run single. Winona State came out of their last Thursday match 5-2 with another victory.

The Warriors continued their weekend in Sioux Falls with a double header against Southwest Minnesota State University, taking two wins and bringing their season total up to 26-4.

Larsen took the mound once again, only allowing five hits throughout the entire game, leading in four runs for the Mustangs.

The Warriors trailed in the opener but managed to smack out fourteen hits over their first game, bringing in twelve runs. Stout sparked the rally with a two-run homer and junior Katie Schlegel followed with a pinch-hit home run, her second of the season. Nowak and Larsen chipped in RBI-singles to help round up the score.

Sophomore Jaida Reynen was credited with the win on the mound after she was brought in to relieve Larsen in the fourth inning. The Warriors took the game 12-4 and headed into the following game with high spirits.

“It was a great way for the girls to get their spirit back up,” head coach Greg Jones said. “They were a bit disheartened after their loss on Thursday, but having two back-to-back wins helped prove what these girls can really do.”

Kleman was the winning pitcher on the mound for game two against the Mustangs, only allowing two runs over five hits. Sophomore Alyssa Van Valey threw the final two innings and held the Mustangs with just one hit while striking out four batters.

Larsen took up another RBI to start off the Warriors in hitting, then managed to steal her first home run of the season.

“It was such a rush,” Larsen said. “I loved the feeling of being able to run the bases and bring in a run for my team. I’m so happy with how this season is going, and I hope it can keep going this way.”

The Warriors took the game 8-2 against the Mustangs, bringing their season total to 26-4. The Warriors will take the home field on Saturday, April 7 against Bemidji State University at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.