The Brainerd Warriors softball team may have found another big bopper in an already potent lineup.
Tika Klauck, hitting in the No. 7 spot, ripped two doubles and drove in four runs for the Warriors, who have been averaging 9.3 runs over their last six games, including Tuesday's 12-2 Central Lakes Conference win over the Fergus Falls Otters.
"We've got a lot of kids swinging a good bat right now," Warriors coach Mike Zauhar said. "Tika Klauck has really come on for us and that's been a pleasant surprise. Kayla Helmberger has been swinging a good bat all year and the addition of Carlie Kramer at our leadoff spot has really sparked out offense.
"It seems like it gets contagious on offense as you go down the lineup and we have a lot of kids who can play."
Tika Klauck had four RBIs
With two outs and the bases loaded, Klauck, the junior right fielder, sent a 3-1 pitch sailing to left field, where it came down right next to the outfield fence, clearing the bases.
"I just saw all the runners out there, there were two outs and I just wanted to drive the ball," Klauck said. "I've been putting the ball in play quite a bit lately. I've had my ups and downs this season at the plate but I've been driving the ball more lately. When I get up to the plate, I just look to get a base hit and run my heart out. No matter where you're hitting in the lineup you just want to go out and do your part."
The following inning the Warriors struck for five more runs to build a 9-0 lead. With one out, Kramer singled and scored when Helmberger laced a double to left-center field for her second hit of the game. Steph Neugebauer followed with a single to score Helmberger.
Karlye Barron and Steph Lambrecht then reached on errors and Klauck nailed her second double and drove in her fourth run of the game.
"You've got your better sticks, supposedly, at the front of the order," Zauhar said, "so when you've got a kid like Tika further down in the order swinging a good bat that's great. It reminds me of last year's lineup when we had good sticks throughout the lineup and I think we're in that position now."
Kelsey Kunde cruised on the mound for the Warriors, as she gave up two runs on just four hits while striking out five and walking two. Kunde used an array of powerful fastballs and offspeed pitches to keep the Otters at bay.
"Kelsey has improved a great deal from last year," said Zauhar. "She's throwing the ball extremely well all year. We've been a one-two punch all year with Ashley Olson. We've very pleased with how Kelsey's done on the mound for us."
Brainerd High School softball coach Mike Zauher kept a close eye on the play as Emily Brink was on third base Tuesday at BHS. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Fergus Falls 002 00 - 2 4 6
Brainerd 452 1x - 12 9 1
Fergus Falls: Aly Erickson and Cristina Matsen. Brainerd: Kelsey Kunde and Kayla Helmberger. W: Kunde. L: Erickson.
2B: Brd-Helmberger, Tika Klauck 2. SB: Brd-Carlie Kramer, Steph Neugebauer. RBI: Brd-Helmberger, Neugebauer, Calliegh Johnson 2, Klauck 4, Bridget Badger, Kristi Ericksen; FF-Erika Magnusson, Sam Revering. LOB: Brd-4, FF 4.
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.