Courtney Tesch is a fast-learner on the mound.
During a Great River Conference game against Ogilvie April 14, the Lions roughed up Tesch and the Aitkin Gobblers for a 16-1 victory. Ogilvie scored its 16 runs on eight hits and 10 walks.
Fast forward to May 9. Tesch struck out five and walked just one in a conference rematch with Ogilvie as she no-hit the Lions in an 11-1 victory.
“The big difference was we had a little better defense behind Courtney the second time around,” said Aitkin head coach Mark Mehr. “But in that game, Courtney was in control of all of her pitches.
“Ogilvie is the type of team that watches a lot of pitches trying to get walks. Courtney changed her approach and started throwing a lot of strikes. When she would get ahead in the count then she started messing with her timing. She had some fantastic strikeouts. She got a lot of kids to pop up on two-strike counts. It was a coach’s dream in terms of what she was doing with the ball.”
It’s the second no-hitter of the two-year varsity pitcher’s career. Her first came last year against Crosby-Ironton. This season the Rangers also fell victim to Tesch’s rematch revenge.
C-I bettered Tesch and the Gobblers April 29 by a 10-9 score. In Thursday’s rematch, Tesch struck out seven and allowed just five hits in an 11-1 victory.
“My second no-hitter felt really good because I had gotten so down after the first time we played them,” said Tesch, who plans on attending and hopefully playing softball at Central Lakes College next year. “The second time we played Ogilvie I did my best to stay positive and it actually worked. That gave me a really good feeling.”
Tesch said her first game against Ogilvie was a learning experience. She struck out the first three batters before things went downhill. She said she lost her mental focus and saw how that affected her team. After that game she focused on becoming mentally tougher.
“The second time playing them I was really nervous because of what happened the first time, but I used that and turned it into positive energy,” said Tesch. “I used it to my advantage. I knew I had to do something. I was just a lot more confident.”
Mehr called his right-hander a great leader with a good work ethic and a strong desire to do well.
“We knew she was going to be our main girl at the pitching position,” Mehr said. “The rest of our pitchers are young and need junior varsity time. We were going with Courtney game after game and she has handled that very well. At times our defense hasn’t been very strong. Our record could be better if we made a play or two behind her, but she’s definitely done a good job for us on the mound.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Jasmine McGillivray, Staples-Motley, finished 3-4 with a three-run home run and a grand slam against Breckenridge.
Paige Beseman, Little Falls finished 3-4 with two doubles and two runs against Mora.
Kaylie Hanson, Pillager, went 3-3 with three walks, a run and an RBI in two games against Menahga.
Morgan Demars, Pine River-Backus, finished 4-5 with three doubles, two runs and two RBIs against Nevis and was 2-3 with a triple against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Kayla Miller, Pequot Lakes, collected four hits, two triples, three RBIs and three runs in two games against Crosby-Ironton.
Brichelle Brummer, Little Falls, finished with two doubles, a home run, four runs and three RBIs against Sartell.
Katelyn Fuhrman, Pierz, went 3-4 with a double, home run, five RBIs and two runs in two games against Howard Lake-Waverly and also pitched a victory.
Kaitlin Dittsworth, Wadena-Deer Creek, was 3-3 with a triple and three runs against Crosby-Ironton.
Melissa Moenkedick, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished 3-3 with two doubles and two runs against Crosby-Ironton.
Track and field: Vanessa Hudrlik, Crosby-Ironton, won the shot put and discus at the Aitkin Invitational.
Sienna Miller, Crosby-Ironton, won the long and triple jumps at the Aitkin Invitational.
Amber Hines, Little Falls, won the shot put and discus at the Melrose Invite.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.