[Remember sports? Aaaaayyyyyyyyy!]
I began yesterday with a rant about the vicissitudes of spring: . . . our golf course superintendent was saying how much he loved spring – his green acreage coming back to life! I don’t know, boys and girls? In spring, one can’t plan [bad word]. I’m beginning to think we’re going to have a spring and summer like last year when lake levels reached record highs. It rains just about every day now – and the weather forecasters have no clue. Last night, our forecast was for a nice, sunny day – good, our Thursday morning senior golf league is starting today. But I’m sitting here typing this in the middle of a thunderstorm – now predicted for on and off all day. I don’t know whether I should go to the ‘Y’ for my morning walk – or walk the golf course. It can all change so fast. Tuesday I was hoping to catch a track meet and a softball game – the track meet was postponed (not for weather, but would have been?), but I went over to see the softball game in the afternoon (after all, the last rain had been hours ago) – but no one was there (I guess you have to advise the traveling opponent early of the possibility it can’t be played). S’pose to be a game today [yesterday] – we’ll see. It seems every year spring sports – track, golf, softball – lose about half their scheduled meets or games to weather. The supervisor would like to get out to mow the lawn – but it is constantly wet. I hate heat but look forward to the regularity of summer.
Yesterday afternoon, surely a most delightful day (thus contrary to my previous rant about spring weather), we watched a softball game of much import – particularly since the state no longer has a professional baseball team. Super Fan Roger Riley and I staked out primo box seats behind home plate. We later discovered Super Fan Bob “Weakie” Annen was also at the game, but we never noticed each other in the overflow crowd. “Weakie” has been a snowbird the last couple of years and has lost his way. He thought that since he once lived in Brainerd, he was required to sit with the Warrior fans. He goes in for counseling next week.
Anyway, “Weakie,” by pure happenstance, sat next to the grandparents of Warriors’ pitcher, Nikki Anderson, who will pitch for your University of Minnesota Golden Gophers next year. Brainerd has won the conference and the section ever since Nikki became their starting pitcher, some time around 3rd grade. The Cards scored three runs against Nikki when we played at Brainerd earlier this year – an unheard sum because she had been known to record 21 strikeouts in a 7-inning game. So this figured to be a good game.
Roger should have sung the Anthem – he noted that the “canned” version had a bit of a dirge-like quality. Then sophomore twirler, Taylor Ellingson (also of hockey fame), took the mound for our Cardinals. The video is of the top half of the 1st inning:
p.s. At the end of the video, I pan across to the softball parents – all in this frame have/had daughters who are/were multiple sport stars for our Cards. Val Trumm’s daughter Lauren (senior) is the catcher, Chris Kragenbring’s (sunglasses) daughter Quinn (senior) is the leftfielder, and standing in white, fellow class of 65er, Bud Bruzek, whose daughter Sarah (sophomore) is the 3rd baseman.
p.p.s. Spring weather back today. Cloudy, chilly, 400 mph winds.
[Leading off for the Cardinals, Danielle Carlson (2), junior shortstop, who like most of her teammates is a multiple sport athlete – a good hockey player, too!]
[A good at bat by Danielle, testing Ms. Anderson.]
[On deck, Jess Syvrud (1), junior 2nd baseman, also plays basketball and soccer, I think (I probably won’t get all their other sports, but hey, I try. 🙂 ]
[Jess squaring to bunt.]
[Lauren Trumm (3), senior catcher, basketball and soccer.]
[Early in the game, the Cards ran themselves out of a couple scoring opportunities.]
[Taylor Ellingson (7), sophomore pitcher, and hockey player.]
[Danielle at short – made all the plays, including an ESPNer!]
[Jess at 2nd backing up Taylor.]
[Amanda Christianson (5), sophomore centerfielder, and volleyball and basketball. Have you noticed when I use the long lens, the chain link disppears? Eat your heart out, David Copperfield!]
[Danielle and Amanda, top and bottom.]
[The meet and greet after every inning.]
[Dugout, PA, and scoreboard operations.]
[Sarah Bruzek (13), sophomore 3rd baseman, “Baby Bruiser,” Bud’s last daughter, followed her two older sisters onto the softball team, batting clean-up as a sophomore, and also plays soccer and basketball.]
[Taylor, as are the following two – with a good blue line slap shot, can swing the bat too.]
[Emily Kuennen (4), sophomore 1st baseman (and pitcher), and volleyball spiker.]
[The Cards were impressive with their aggressive swings against an overpowering pitcher.]
[“Baby Bruiser” on the fence; Echo Press, on the right, with superior resources bring a ladder to “shoot” over the fence.]
[Sarah @ 3rd.]
[Quinn Kragenbring (10), senior leftfielder, situational switch-hitter, here batting lefty to bunt her way on, volleyball and hockey.]
[Mikayla Lucas (9), senior rightfielder, co-captain with fellow seniors Quinn and Lauren, a fan favorite batting last in the line-up with a hit and contact every at bat.]
[Back to Danielle at the top of the order.]
[As a follower of the sport, I had heard of Nikki Anderson, but for as long as she has been the Warriors starting pitcher, I had never seen her play (note spring rant at the beginning). So, I was delighted to finally have a nice day and a chance to see her perform in her senior year.]
[She does have great stuff. And that’s why the Cards were impressive, too. We challenged her every inning, and had several well hit balls.]
[The auto focus opted for the chain link this time – nice effect though! 😉 ]
[Her blue and white Warrior mouth piece produces a gap-tooth look. 😮 ]
[I wouldn’t want to hit against her!]
[Jess, and the next three.]
[I believe this was the at bat she tripled down the left field line.]
[The Cards were down 1-0 at the time; a hit-by-pitch batter had scored for Brainerd as those things always seem to come back to haunt you.]
[Sarah stepped up with LT on 3rd.]
[A mighty swing . . .]
[Another might swing – base hit – LT scores! Game now tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 4th (as I recall).]
[Emily tries to keep it going . . .]
[Rachel Peterson (12), junior outfielder at the fence, and basketball player, has a key role in the last inning.]
[Quinn, batting righty this time.]
[I believe this was the at bat when Quinn hit the hardest shot of the game – a bullet two-hopper at the shortstop. It handcuffed the shortstop, but since it was hit so hard, she was able to recover and throw Quinn out on a close play. We had runners in scoring position – a little to either side . . . .]
[Jess dances out of the way.]
[Tensions are mounting – we’re getting late in a 1-1 game. Front to back, the up the middle defense of Danielle, Jess, and Amanda look on. I believe in the 6th the Warriors got a lead-off triple. Later a walk. That runner tried to steal 2nd – and Lauren threw her out! After the game, Lauren told her folks she couldn’t believe the runner on 3rd didn’t try to score – but she was throwing through because they needed the out. The lead-off triple never scored.]
[Another good swing, but I think it was a ground out.]
[In the top of the 7th, Brainerd’s 1st two batters bunted and reached base. Then two batters walked – that’s an arrrgggghhhhh! The Warriors took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 7th.]
[Dani Strater (14), junior infielder, basketball player, got to pinch hit.]
[The aforementioned Rachel came up to pinch hit . . .]
[and got a base hit! The Cards then had runners on 2nd and 3rd and only one out!]
Then Anderson showed why she is such a good pitcher . . .
[First, Mikayla . . .]
[then Danielle were victims of devastating change-ups, a pitch Anders0n threw only 3 or 4 times the entire game when she really needed a strike out.]
So, the Warriors won 2-1 in a really good game.
Also a shout out to freshman golfer, Natalie Amundson, conference player of the week.
[Echo Press photo.]