Softball: Errors bite Red Wing in home losses
Red Wing reverted to last year's defensive struggles Thursday in the final Missota Conference matchup against Chaska in Red Wing.
The Wingers struggled to make routine plays for the first eight innings of the doubleheader before finding momentum in the final two innings.
"No excuses, but having all those games in a row is starting to take its toll," Red Wing head coach Jon Bohmbach said.
The Hawks used eight unearned runs in Game 1 to grab a 14-0 five-inning victory and five unearned runs in a 10-6 Game 2 win to complete the sweep.
An already depleted Red Wing (2-15, 0-14 Missota) squad played without Hannah Walch, who broke her nose last game, and lost Maria Furlong to an arm injury in the first inning of Game 2.
"We're so thin, it hurts us immediately," Bohmbach said, "and we're so young. It exposes a lot."
Chaska scored at least one run in every inning during the Game 1 blowout.
Taryn Collins pitched all five innings for the Hawks, allowing four hits and two walks. She struck out three and went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI and four runs scored in the victory. Shelby Goff was 2-for-5 with three stolen bases and Taylor Schwalbe finished 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI as Chaska racked up 17 hits.
The Wingers had four different players tally a hit. Hailee Johnson was 1-for-1 with a walk, McKenzie Cota went 1-for-2, Rebecca Swenning hit 1-for-2 and Makaela Egan finished 1-for-3.
The Hawks grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first inning, added four in the second inning, two in the third, two in the fourth and five in the fifth to put the game out of reach.
The second game didn't start much better for Red Wing as Chaska scored four runs with two outs in the first inning, tallying six singles in the opening frame against pitcher Emily Boxrud.
Then, in the second inning, the Wingers dropped a foul pop up with two outs and Kaley DeCou took advantage with an RBI single to give the Hawks a 5-0 lead.
"We didn't help her in key situations," Bohmbach said of Boxrud. "I didn't think she pitched too bad."
It got worse for Boxrud in the bottom of the third inning as three more runs scored courtesy of a dropped fly ball with two outs. Schwalbe knocked in another unearned run a batter later for a 9-0 advantage.
But in the final home doubleheader, Red Wing's lone senior, Laura Chalmers, stepped up and infused some energy with a leadoff double.
"I don't think she understands how valuable she is," Bohmbach said of Chalmers.
Her courtesy runner, Jordan Munson, scored on a groundout by Cota later in the inning to cut the defecit to 9-1.
Chaska went back up by nine in the bottom of the fifth inning on a single by Maise Miller to score Goff.
The Wingers responded in the sixth inning as Egan led off with a single, advanced to second on an error by the left fielder and came home on a groundout by Swenning.
With the score sitting at 10-2 in the seventh inning, Red Wing put up a valiant effort to comeback with four runs, but had a runner thrown out on the base paths and stranded another runner at second base. Egan knocked in two with a single and Chalmers had a two-RBI double in the final inning.
"We finished strong but you got to start a little better," Bohmbach said. "We've got to learn how to win and how to be consistent through both ends of a doubleheader."
The 1-5 spots in the Wingers' batting order had six of the team's seven hits, four of their six runs and five of six RBI in Game 2. Finding success throughout the lineup will be the next step for Red Wing.
"We're tried to move things around a little bit," Bohmbach said. "The backside of the order is pretty young. We're not striking out, we're getting the ball in play. We're trying to find spots where they can see some better pitches."
Red Wing concludes the regular season Friday in a home game against Randolph. The game begins at 2:45 p.m. at Red Wing High School.