What looked more like a scrimmage was actually the Brainerd Warriors softball team pounding St. Cloud Apollo 8-2 and 10-0 in a Central Lakes Conference doubleheader Tuesday.
Everyone played and contributed for the Warriors, who improve to 5-1 overall and in the conference.
"I think it was very important to get everyone some playing time," said Warrior coach Mike Zauhar. "No. 1, we have kids that haven't seen much game action and those kids deserve to play as much as our starters.
"Leigha Walters came in and had a nice game. Katie Boran came in and did some nice things. Amber Thompson had a dandy game for us. She made a big play out in the field."
Brainerd pitcher Laura Clemens dodged a first-inning, bases-loaded jam and then went on to register seven strikeouts for her third win of the season. She gave up no runs, no walks and only two hits in five innings of work.
At one time, Clemens retired 12 Eagles in a row to improve her record to 3-0.
Sophomore Megan Arns finished 2-for-4 with a double, triple two runs and a RBI. Haley Bower was 2-3 with two singles, two RBI, two stolen bases and a run and Erin Donnelly finished 3-3 with two runs and a stolen base.
Brainerd jumped to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning thanks to an Abby Rehberger walk and Arns' triple. Bower drove in Arns in the next at bat.
Arns relieved Clemens in the sixth inning, striking out the first two batters she faced, but then struggled, giving up two runs on three walks and a hit.
"(Clemens) was on fire," Zauhar said. "I don't know what her strike ratio was, but it was high. When she's on like that and our defense is playing well behind her, we're a tough team.
"Megan Arns made her debut and I think for the first time she did a nice job."
Donnelly pitched four innings giving up just three hits, no walks and no runs. The junior improved her record to 2-1.
She allowed her defense to do most of the work and they responded with some nice play behind her.
"The defense is just awesome," said Donnelly, who pitched nine innings Monday in a 4-3 win over Sartell. "I have so much confidence in them where I can just throw it in there and they'll just work it."
Donnelly helped herself out in the first inning smashing a two-run triple to right field. Brainerd erupted in the first inning with six runs off of six hits. Rehberger once again opened the game with a walk. Arns singled, then stole second. Sacha Holbrook and Alyssa Anderson nailed RBI singles. Sarah Johnson singled and Yvonne Larson drove in Donnelly for the runs.
Brainerd batted around with Rehberger registering the final out.
"I don't think we've reached the full potential that we can reach," said Zauhar. "You always need to concentrate on improving. I think our hitting can get better. Our situational play, where we have runners on base and bunt the ball can get better.
"Our pitchers are consistently throwing strikes right now, but we don't think we've reached the mountain top by any means. We have a long ways to go."
Anderson and Donnelly scored again in the third inning thanks to two Apollo errors. Arns opened the sixth inning with another triple. Bower drove Arns home for the ninth run and she later scored on a Donnelly single to end the game.
"I just went up there with the attitude to hit and it just worked for me," said Donnelly. "I just said, 'hit the ball and hit it somewhere so she can score and get this game done.'"
St. Cloud Apollo 000 002 0 -- 2 4 4
Brainerd 202 130 x -- 8 10 2
St. Cloud Apollo -- Lindsey Baird and Patty Harrington. Brainerd -- Laura Clemens, Megan Arns (6) and Sacha Holbrook and Leigha Walters (6). W -- Clemens. L -- Baird.
2B -- B-Arns, Alyssa Anderson. 3B -- B-Arns. SB -- B-Haley Bowers 2, Yvonne Larson 2, Erin Donnelly, Amber Thompson, Abby Rehberger. Sac -- B-Larson. RBI -- B-Bower, Holbrook, Thompson, Rehberger; B-Schulte 2. LOB -- B 8, A 8. DP -- B 1, A 0.
St. Cloud Apollo 000 000 -- 0 4 3
Brainerd 602 002 -- 10 11 0
St. Cloud Apollo -- Baird and Harrington. Brainerd -- Donnelly, Clemens (4) and Holbrook, Walters (4). W -- Donnelly. L -- Baird.
2B -- A-Jessica Schultz. 3B -- B-Donnelly, Arns. SB -- B-Arns, Bower. RBI -- B-Holbrook 2, Donnelly 3, Anderson, Larson, Bower. LOB -- B 6, A 5.
Conference -- B 5-1. Overall -- B 5-1. Next game -- Brainerd hosts Rocori 5 p.m. Thursday.
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