Last weekend, Central Lakes College Raiders softball player Amanda Monnier tore her ACL. In the second game of a double-header against the Northland Pioneers Wednesday, Monnier found herself hobbling out to right field to take the place of another injured player.
CLC was down to eight players after freshmen shortstop Jenna Carlson severely injured her ankle slidding into home in a 10-9, extra inning loss to the Pioneers, forcing Monnier to come off the bench so the Raiders could continue to play.
"I left the decision to play on up the girls," Raiders coach Bob Sullivan said. "I told the girls that no one would blame them if they wanted to end it. About four girls at the same time said, 'Jenna would want us to play.' They showed me that they're just a great bunch of determined girls. I don't feel like we lost at all."
CLC won the first game of the doubleheader 6-3, but Northland took command of Game 2, grabbing a 9-3 through four innings. In the fifth, CLC sophomore Lindsey Finco opened with one of her four hits in the game and Elsie Rehberger reached on a Northland error. Carlson then ripped an 0-1 pitch into the left-center field for a triple to score Finco and Rehberger.
Raiders 6-9, Northland 3-10
Strange finish: After Jenna Carlson was hospitalized with an ankle injury in Game 2, Amanda Monnier, who tore her ACL last week, hobbled into the lineup so CLC would have nine players. The Raiders must add a player to their roster in the next week or forfeit the season.
Next: at Rainy River, 3 p.m. Friday
Kayla Pohlkamp then flew out to shortstop and Carlson tagged up to score. She was gunned down at home plate, where it is believed she broke her ankle on the slide. She was taken away by ambulance.
After play resumed, Amber Buttler drove in Leigha Walters to narrow the score to 9-6 heading into the sixth inning.
CLC started the bottom of the seventh with an automatic out since Monnier couldn't hit. Walters and Beth Rogge both singled and Buttler, who pitched both games, belted a single to score Walters.
That brought up leadoff hitter Rene Springer. Facing an 0-2 count, Springer launched a pitch to the right-center field gap for a triple to score Rogge and Buttler, tying the game. Springer rounded third to try to score the game winner but was tagged out.
Northland finally found some gaps in CLC's makeshift defense to score in the eighth and held off CLC in the final inning to get the win.
Not a single CLC player second-guessed the decision to play on despite the long odds.
"We just decided to continue to keep playing as a team and that Jenna would want us to," Walters said. "We gave it our best and made it work. It was nice to see us get runs with only eight players."
But now CLC is faced with this problem: It has only eight players and only a week to add a player or two to its roster. If they don't, the season would have to be forfeited, a shame for a team that is 7-1 in division play.
"We've done a great job this season and we'd really hate to see it end," Buttler said. "We have the potential to really do something this season at state or even regions."
"We're going to try and recruit some more people to come out and play," Finco said. "It'd be sad to end the season this way but we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Northland 3 6 6
Central Lakes 6 5 3
WP -- Amber Buttler. LP -- Abbie Houske. RBI -- CLC-Lindsey Finco, Leigha Walters; NL-Katie Welseth, Houske 2.
Northland 10 13 2
Central Lakes 9 16 4
WP -- Kelley Zimpel. LP -- Buttler. 2B -- CLC-Rene Springer. 3B -- CLC-Springer; NL-Houske. RBI -- CLC-Springer 2, Sullivan, Rehberger, Jenna Carlson 3, Buttler 2; NL-Houske 3, Kayla Berberich 2, Amber Solheim, Laura Andersen, Lisa Hardy. North Division -- 7-1. Overall -- 8-2. Next game: CLC at Rainy River 3 p.m. Friday.
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