When Abby Rehberger was hit in the hand by a backswing in Thursday's game at St. Cloud Tech the Brainerd Warriors softball team was hoping its sophomore catcher didn't break any bones.
Her initial exam didn't reveal any break so Rehberger was cleared to play in Friday's 11-6 victory over the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm at Adamson Field.
To be safe, Warriors coach Mike Zauhar put Rehberger at second base and moved Erin Holznagel behind the plate from second. Both delivered clutch hits and played solid defense as Brainerd improved to 7-2.
Warriors 11, Sauk Rapids- Rice 6
The key: Abby Rehberger and Erin Holznagel combined to go 5-for-8 with a double, two triples and three RBI.
Next: at St. Cloud Apollo, 5 p.m. Tuesday
Rehberger went 3-for-4, smacking a two-run triple in a six-run third that lifted Brainerd into a 9-2 lead.
"I just tried to forget about (the hand) when I was up there, and just hit the ball," she said.
Rehberger said the doctor thought her hand was broken when she was examined.
"When he got the X-ray back he said I must have strong bones," she said. "He said they were going to send it in and see maybe if it has a hairline fracture. As of right now, it's fine, and he said I could play.
"The whole thing is all bruised, from about the third knuckle in. It's all swollen."
Rehberger, who played third base her first two varsity seasons, recorded two putouts and had one assist.
"I wish I would have got some more action over there but it was fun," she said. "I like playing infield but anywhere is good."
Holznagel, who caught much of last season, looked good behind and at the plate.
"I'm sad that Abby was not feeling very well, but it's nice to have a change," Holznagel said. "I'm liking second base but whatever I can do for the team, I'm going to do that."
At bat, Holznagel went 2-for-4 cracking a triple in the fourth, and a RBI double in the sixth.
"Lately, batting hasn't been going very well," Holznagel said. "I just decided I was going to forget about everything else, just go and do whatever I could, and luckily, something came of it."
Luck was in the Warriors' favor. They scored nine unearned runs thanks to six Storm errors. That neutralized Brainerd's five errors, which led to three unearned Sauk Rapids runs.
"You know what they say, it's OK to win ugly," Zauhar said. "It sure is a lot better than losing ugly. We've got kids playing different positions. We just need to be patient with them."
In a game disrupted by errors, the Warriors did make a few fine defensive plays. Right fielder Kelsey Anderson threw out a runner at first base in the second inning. In the seventh, Paige Olson dove at third base to take away a potential hit.
"I thought a huge play in the beginning of the game was Kelsey throwing a runner out from right field," Zauhar said. "We needed an out in that situation. We were struggling a little bit."
Winning pitcher Megan Arns struggled while her teammates labored in the field. She did pitch a complete game, with four strikeouts but gave up nine hits.
The biggest hit Arns surrendered was a three-run triple in the sixth by Allison Larsen.
After walking the first batter of the game, Arns didn't issue another base on balls.
"Megan pitched really well," Holznagel said. "I know she was hurting a little bit but she's tough. She just went for it."
Sauk Rapids-Rice 110 004 0 -- 6 9 6
Brainerd 216 101 x -- 11 8 5
SRR-Kara Swan and Steph Thayer. Brd-Megan Arns and Erin Holznagel. W-Arns. L-Swan.
2B-B-Holznagel. 3B-SRR-Allison Larsen; B-Abby Rehberger, Holznagel. SB-SRR-A.Larsen, B-Alison LeBlanc, Lindsey Jourdan, Rehberger. Sac-SRR-Megan Wurdelman, B-Jourdan. RBI-SRR-Jen Swan, Thayer, A.Larsen 3, K.Larsen; B-Jourdan, Rehberger 2, Holznagel. LOB-SRR 9, B 5.
Conference-SRR 3-3, B 5-1. Overall-SRR 3-3, B 7-2.
MIKE BIALKA can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5861.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.