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Seventh grader throws winning pitches for Barnum

Barnum shortstop Mallory Agurkis tags out a South Ridge runner on an attempted stolen base in Tuesday's softball game at RJM Fields. Dave Harwig/news@pinejournal.com1 / 2
Barnum's Lea Peterson swings the bat for a base hit during Tuesday's softball game against South Ridge. Dave Harwig/news@pinejournal.com2 / 2

SOFTBALL

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It's been a great start to the softball season in Barnum, which is 4-1 thanks to a combination of the things that make softball teams successful.

Tuesday's 5-4, come-from-behind win over South Ridge featured just enough offense, plus pitching and defense that was enough to win.

Barnum's success is a bit more unlikely, though, given that the good pitching has come from a seventh-grader. Mendota Castonguay picked up the win Tuesday by pitching a complete game.

"She's been very good," coach Brandon Colello said. "She throws strikes, and lets the defense make plays behind her. We have several pitchers her age but she has been the most ready and we've been riding that to a few wins."

Barnum (4-1) rallied for two runs in the seventh inning on a bloop single by the team's only senior starter, Fallon Hartman.

'"We're young," Colello said. "But, we have been pretty good offensively and that's been enough."

Leadoff hitter Lea Peterson is hitting over .500 to spark the offense through five games. She had two hits, scored three runs and stole three bases against South Ridge, and Mallory Agurkis had three hits including a double on Tuesday.

Natalie Lisic had two hits and scored two runs for South Ridge, which got a complete game effort from Celia Olesiak on the mound.

Barnum's roster contains five juniors, three sophomores, two freshmen and an eighth-grader in addition to Castonguay, who would still be eligible to pitch U-12 softball for Barnum but is instead pitching for the varsity.

"She doesn't have great speed because she's only 13 but she throws strikes and hasn't walked very many people (10 in 27 innings of work)," Colello said. "She's also thrown only one wild pitch so our defense knows she is going to be around the plate and that means they can play defense on their toes instead of wondering when the ball will go into play."

After losing its season opener 9-7 at Rush City, the Bombers have reeled off four straight wins and scored 54 runs in the process. They scored 16 in a win over Cromwell-Wright, 18 in a win over Floodwood and 15 in a five-inning win at Hinckley-Finlayson in addition to Tuesday's win.

Weather permitting, Barnum is scheduled to play at Two Harbors Thursday and at McGregor Friday, before traveling to Cook County Tuesday, May 2.

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