Park softball: Wolfpack wins two straightThe Park softball team earned a split in a busy stretch of four Suburban East Conference contests last week.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Sometimes .500 isn’t bad.
The Park softball team earned a split in a busy stretch of four Suburban East Conference contests last week. The Wolfpack beat Hastings and Cretin-Derham Hall in a pair of one-run games after falling to East Ridge and Forest Lake to start the week.
Most recently, Park beat Cretin-Derham Hall 4-3 on Monday, April 23, in St. Paul.
Park junior Mary Turitto led the way for the Wolfpack, going 3-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI in the win.
Park is now 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. Cretin-Derham Hall fell to 2-6 overall and in conference play.
“Hopefully it will be a good momentum builder for us,” Park head coach Bob Loshek said. “We know where we have made our mistakes this year, but we know how to fix them. Now, the question is if we will learn from our mistakes as well as our opponents as we head into the second half of our season?”
The win over Cretin-Derham Hall came on the heels of a 14-13 victory at Hastings on Thursday, April 19, as the Wolfpack battled cold, rainy conditions to hang on and beat the defending Class AAA state champions.
In the win over Hastings, Park had leads of 10-4 in the fifth inning and 14-7 in the seventh inning, but the Raiders wouldn’t go away. Hastings (3-6; 3-6 SEC) rallied from six runs down to come within a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Park escaped with the win.
“The girls really wanted this one today,” Loshek said. “Hastings has been so good for a few years now, and to have the opportunity to beat them at their place is a big deal for any team, so when we saw the lead slipping away, I felt for those who have worked and played so hard in these horrible conditions.”
Against Hastings, Park finished with 14 hits as sophomore Sam Flack led the way, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and four RBI. In addition, Turitto went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, a double and 2 RBI, Kennedy Henderson was 3-for-5 with two RBI and Rachel Suter was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Prior to the wins, Park started the week on the wrong foot, falling 6-5 in extra innings at rival East Ridge (4-4; 4-4 SEC) on Tuesday, April 17.
“Much of the same for the Wolfpack where we are allowing the big inning to hurt us,” Loshek said.
Park took the lead in the top of the first inning when Gwen Warling ripped a one out single up the middle. After a Turitto walk, Flack ripped a shot down the line to put Park up 1-0. After East Ridge answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning, and then added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning, the Wolfpack answered with three runs in the top of the third inning to tie the score at 4-4. The big third started with Rachel Suter lining a single down the left field line, followed by another Warling single. Turitto then came up and drilled a double down the left field line advancing to third on the left fielder’s bobble. Flack then hit another shot to score Turitto tying the game 4-4.
Even though both teams had scoring opportunities throughout the game, neither one could cross the plate until the top of the 10th inning when Turitto opened the frame with a single up the middle. She was stuck at second, though, until Park had two outs, when Amber Galloway hit a grounder that East Ridge’s third baseman had a tough time fielding. Turitto was able to score on the play, putting the ‘Pack up 5-4. However, in the bottom of the inning East Ridge scored a pair of runs to steal the win.
Turitto led the way in the loss, going 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI.
Galloway took the hard-luck loss, allowing six runs on eight hits.
“Amber pitched a heck of a game,” Loshek said. “She kept battling and battling with their hitters; not giving in to them. We were down, came back, took the lead and lost it in the end. It shows like it has for ages, you win with pitching and defense. Today we pitched well enough to win, we just need to put it together defensively for a full seven innings. In this case 10 innings.”
Park followed the loss to East Ridge with a 5-0 loss to Forest Lake on Wednesday, April 18. The third ranked and undefeated Rangers (8-0; 8-0 SEC) scored all five runs in the second inning against starting pitcher Kennedy Henderson, but the Wolfpack couldn’t touch Forest Lake’s pitcher Michelle LaCasse, who threw a no-hitter with five strikeouts.
“I believe that extra-inning loss to East Ridge took a lot of wind out of our sails,” Loshek said. “Kennedy Henderson pitched very well in the game, but again a walk and an error or two and we got down 5-0 like that. Forest Lake’s bats were silent the rest of the way, but they didn’t need any extra help.”
Next, Park hosts Roseville on Wednesday, April 24, at Charlie Whitbred Field.