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Storm softball looks to adjust,
improve for playoffs

Lack of practice time hinders SRR

By Tom Fenton

When things get rough during the course of a season, there is nothing coaches crave more than practice time. Unfortunately for Emily McEwan and her Sauk Rapids-Rice softball team, that time has been limited.

The soggy and cold April weather has led to a slew of games as teams try to fill their regular-season schedules before the section tournament begins next week. Ironing out deficiencies has been challenging for the Storm, who dropped a doubleheader to St. Cloud, 11-5 and 13-3, May 18 at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids.

“I was thinking to myself how helpful a practice would be today (May 17) to fine-tune some things that have happened over the last four games,” said McEwan, whose team played nine games in the past seven days after a regular season- ending doubleheader May 19 at Fergus Falls. “We need to practice a few pitching skills and could use a day to go over defensive plays with new players in different spots. But, the reality of our season just doesn’t allow for it. We have to make adjustments on the fly and learn as we play.”

The Storm took a 2-15-1 record into the Fergus Falls doubleheader and are hoping for better things in the upcoming playoffs.
“We have been doing a better job of attacking the ball earlier in the count,” McEwan said. “Last week, we struggled against a good change-up, and we have been making adjustments in the box to make sure we are jumping on good pitches.”

The Storm dropped two games against Rocori – 9-1 and 18-2 – May 17 in Cold Spring, getting an RBI in each game from Lilli Berger and Riley Turck.
SRR strung together some hits against Cathedral May 16 at River’s Edge Park in Waite Park, but it was not enough to overcome an early deficit in an 11-1 loss. Chloe Reiter, Catie Gilbertson, Berger, Maggie Fernholz and Turck each had one hit.

Reiter, Gilbertson and Campbell Arndt led the highlight of the recent busy stretch – a 15-7 win at Detroit Lakes May 14. Reiter drove in three runs while Gilbertson and Arndt each had two RBIs for SRR, which used a six-run sixth inning to pull away. Arndt earned the pitching win, striking out 10 Lakers.

“We finally put together our offense, defense and pitching into a complete game,” McEwan said. “Our mentality was to win each inning. Breaking down the game into smaller segments to really focus our attention on manageable tasks. It would be great to get another win this week for our confidence going into playoffs, but I am more concerned with how we play.”

Big Lake used a five-run second inning to pull away from the Storm in an 8-3 victory May 13 in Big Lake. Gilbertson and Arndt each had a double and an RBI.

The double-elimination Section 8AAA tournament is scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 24.