Saints switch a winnerJun 10, 2021 12:45PM ● By Kristi Nixon
ST. ANSGAR — Not much was working for St. Ansgar’s softball team against West Fork eighth-grade pitcher Libby Trewin.
Twice coach Lance Schutjer’s team were down to the last out in the final two innings and broke through each time.
Down 1-0 in the seventh, Abby Hemann, Josie Juhl and Taylor Hanna put together three straight hits to tie the game and send it into extra innings when the courtesy runner for Juhl was thrown out at third on Hanna’s double.
“If we can get a runner on, we can usually get a runner home,” Schutjer said. “We were fortunate in the seventh, getting that big run and in the eighth, we decide to try a few different hitters and as luck would have it, which I’ll take any time, it worked out well for us.”
From there, Schutjer and the Saints chose to switch up the offense with a pair of pinch hitters with two outs once again.
Kirsten Boerjan reached on an error to short and then Hali Anderson, who had had one of just four hits prior to that, doubled her home to pull out the 2-1, eight-inning victory over the Warhawks.
“We needed a spark and Kirsten gave us that with that hit,” Anderson said. “That was big for us.
“I don’t know if it (what Trewin was throwing) was anything special. We’ve faced a lot of pitchers this week that have had a lot of different timings, slow and fast. It’s hard to adjust from night to night with different speeds. In the end, we finally did, I guess.”
Schutjer added, “The biggest thing is we have to make adjustments when we’re hitting. Because if we are not making adjustments, we tend to keep just playing routine softball. Sometimes it takes bringing in someone to pinch-hit to give a little spark. We thought we’d bring in a couple of different hitters and see what we could do. That worked out well.”
Prior to that, the Saints had struck out eight times.
“A little nervous, I guess,” Anderson said. “We knew we had to go now or it would be too late and they’d get ahead of us, so it was big for us to get that one runner on and that helped my confidence a little bit with Kirsten on. If she can get on, I can get on.”
Schutjer assessed what his team needs to do while facing different pitchers.
“We needed to make adjustments — we’re a good hitting team — but sometimes we tend to not put forth the effort I think we should put forth,” Schutjer said. “Sometimes we get in a rut and we need to get better than that. Get better as hitters.”
Save for a pair of doubles in the third inning that plated West Fork’s only run, Josie Juhl and the Saints defense had the Warhawks off-balance for much of the game. Juhl struck out 11.
The Saints committed just one error that ended up leaving the runner on base in the seventh.
“Our defense is pretty solid,” Anderson said, “we can improve our bats a little bit, but our defense has been what keeps us in games.”
The win improved St. Ansgar to 7-2 overall, 2-2 in the Top of Iowa East Conference. Both losses are to ranked teams, including 2A No. 1 Central Springs and 1A No. 14 North Butler.
“Right now, we’re comfortable with where we’re at,” Schutjer said. “We’ll see a lot of teams this coming week in a tournament that has a lot of teams that we like to challenge ourselves. As long as we play our best softball come tournament-time, that’s what we’re looking for. These games are tuning up for us to be at our best.”
West Fork 001 000 00 - 1 5 1
St. Ansgar 000 000 11 - 2 5 1
Winning battery — Josie Juhl and Abby Hemann. Losing battery — Libby Trewin and Kalli Trewin. Two or more hits — SA (Hali Anderson). 2B — WF (Maddie Hubka, Madisyn Bonner); SA (Taylor Hanna, Anderson). SB — WF (Keelee Sheriff, Haley Grady). RBI — WF (Bonner); SA (Hanna, Anderson).