AlBrook trounces Cromwell-Wright in season openers

The softball season is under way for Cromwell-Wright and AlBrook, and the two teams met each other in their season-opening games April 11. The Falcons hit, ran and walked off with a 26-16 five- inning victory that featured two offensive explosion...

Alyssa Johnson
AlBrook catcher Alyssa Johnson, a junior, tries to tag Cromwell-Wright sophomore Christina Stenson in Monday's season opener. The Falcons handed the Cardinals a 26-16 loss in five innings behind some pretty impressive offense. Dan Saletel/Pine Journal

The softball season is under way for Cromwell-Wright and AlBrook, and the two teams met each other in their season-opening games April 11.

The Falcons hit, ran and walked off with a 26-16 five-

inning victory that featured two offensive explosions.

However, for the Cardinals the game marked what their coach hopes will be a turning point.

"All of our players drove in runs," coach Brad Ramberg said. "And we scored 16 of them, which for us has been a whole season in some years!"


The Cardinals had significant growth issues last season but now boast nine seniors, including six in the starting lineup. Amber Witz, Pauline Vastenackels, Rosalie Lefebvre, Lisa Peterson, Emily Hendrickson, Lydia Langhorst, Dayna Elmer, and Hannah and Haley Shelton are all upperclassmen on the team.

However, against the Falcons it was eighth-grader Kaylan Risacher who got the ball on the mound.

"She's a tough kid," Ramberg said. "She had a very rough first inning."

The Falcons, who have no seniors on their team, batted 13 players in the first inning against Risacher and scored 10 runs.

"We are going to hit the ball and put in play," AlBrook coach Tim Anvid said. "We managed to do that, we did do that. But we need some work on our pitching. Throwing strikes is an issue."

The Cardinals struck back with six runs of their own in the second inning against AlBrook starter Kendra Dahlmann to get within 10-7, with three of them scoring on a bases-loaded triple by Risacher.

"That got her back into a better mood," Ramberg said.

However, the Falcons were too strong for the Cardinals and held them at arm's length the rest of the way for the win. Risacher took the loss on the mound, but was 3-for-4 at the plate with a single, double, triple and six RBI.


"She did struggle on the pitching side but we always knew she was a hitter," Ramberg said.

For AlBrook, Kourtney Karppinen was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Alyssa Johnson was 1-for-3 with a two-run double. Dahlmann pitched into the third inning before giving way to freshman Justice Janke.

Walks haunted both teams, which erased Cromwell-Wright's best offensive performance in many a year, with 17 hits leading to their 16 runs.

"Defensively we should be solid," Ramberg said, "but it's hard to play defense when you walk people. Sometimes the kids sort of fall asleep out there."

The Falcons boast three new position players who haven't played at varsity level before, including seventh-grade second-baseman Krystal


"She did a great job," Anvid said. "She went out there and looked like she had been there before. I was very proud of her. For our team, if we can play defense I think we'll be OK. We need to work on our pitching and the players are working hard at it."

Ramberg chose to highlight the offensive strides his team has made after a hitting clinic put on by Fond du Lac college softball coach Kerry Rodd.


"The kids learned not to stride at the plate," Ramberg said. "The kids have worked very hard on their hitting, we all learned from the clinic and we're putting it into practice with the kids."

Unfortunately, the Cardinals got one of the ultimate tests in their second game, losing 15-0 to one of the top pitchers in the area in Floodwood's Molly Johnsen. She pitched a five-inning perfect game against the Cardinals with 12 strikeouts.

"She is good," Ramberg said. "She could throw it over the plate blindfolded."

However, there's plenty of time for the Cardinals to find their feet - even if they have to do it away from home. On Thursday, Cromwell-Wright is at Silver Bay as part of a schedule that will see them play their first six games, and nine of their 13 scheduled, away from home.

The team's next scheduled games are April 19 at Esko, April 25 at Sandstone East Central and April 26 at Cook County, in perhaps the ultimate north-south road swing.

AlBrook's next game is on Friday against Silver Bay at home.

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