It's so simple. Anyone who's ever shuffled, cut and dealt even a single hand of poker knows you're in a stronger position when you're dealt two aces than if you're holding only one. Maybe that's why Central Lakes College Raiders softball manager Dennis Eastman was so eager to get in Friday's games against visiting Riverland.
Eastman was savvy enough to know that, even with the threatening weather, the pair of aces he would toss out on the mound, Jenny Sovich in game one and Stacie Rousselange in game two, gave his Raiders an important edge in the Minnesota Community College Conference opening doubleheader. Riverland would use only one pitcher to toss both ends of the twin bill.
Sure enough, the Raiders turned what was billed as a pick-'em series into a runaway sweep as they beat Riverland by scores of 11-3 and 14-3.
"We're fortunate to have two really strong pitchers," said Eastman. "Jenny Sovich is really coming back strong after having mono and Stacie Rousselange really matured during our trip to Montana. She pitched about 33 innings out there. That gave her a chance to see what she could do and to learn that she doesn't have to do it all herself; she's got some pretty good defensive players behind her, so she doesn't have to try to be so fine with her pitches. She can throw them down the pipe and know someone will make a play."
Central Lakes College Raiders center fielder Erin Thiesse of Brainerd ripped an inside-the-park home run in the nightcap against Riverland Community College on Friday. The Raiders won both games of the twin bill.
Sovich needed just 41 pitches to finish off Riverland in the first game. In the opening frame, Sovich disposed of the Riverland batters with just four pitches.
In the bottom half of the first, the Raiders scored two runs. Erin Thiesse reached on an error to open the inning. Heather Olson's sacrifice moved her to second. Destiny Smith's single scored Thiesse and Smith trotted home one out later on first baseman Amy Martinson's triple.
The Raiders broke open the game with seven runs in the second inning. Cassey Veith opened the second with a home run, she would add a second in game two. Heidi Rogge and Thiesse singled and then scored on a two RBI single by Olson. Becki Wagner followed with another single and rode home on Martinson's RBI double.
The Raiders started game two where they left off in game one. Rousselange shut down Riverland in the top of the first while the Raiders scored twice in the end of the inning.
Olson got things started with a one out walk and promptly stole second. After Smith converted a 3-2 count into another walk, the pair worked a double steal to land Raiders on second and third. Wagner doubled home Olson while Smith was held up at third to give CLC a 1-0 lead. Martinson singled to drive in Smith for a 2-0 lead.
Riverland got one of those runs back in the top of the second. But, once again, the second inning proved to be a feast for the Raiders and fatal for Riverland. CLC batted a round and scored six runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 8-1 lead. The big blows being a home run by Thiesse, a triple by Martinson and doubles by Poster and Katie Foss.
The Raiders scored five more runs in the fourth, keyed by a Cassey Veith home run and doubles by Martinson and Wagner.
The wins place the Raiders atop the MCCC with a 2-0 record, with key conference games coming up against Rochester on Saturday and against Ridgewater on Tuesday.
Riverland 021 00 -- 3
CLC 272 0X -- 11
Riverland-- S. Chessmore and B. Anderson; CLC -- Jenny Sovich and Toni Elyea. WP -- Sovich. LP -- Chessmore. HR -- CLC Cassey Veith.
CLC 261 05 --14
Riverland 012 00 -- 3
CLC-- Stacie Rousselange and Toni Elyea; Riverland -- S. Chessmore and B. Anderson. WP -- Rousselange. LP -- Chessmore. HR -- CLC Erin Thiesse, Cassey Veith. Conference -- CLC 2-0. Overall -- CLC 8-3.
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