It's a benchmark for the Verndale Pirates softball team, a time in the season when the mental switch turns on and the team ignites.
That time is the Menahga tournament April 23. This year the Pirates finished 1-2, but their senior cocaptain found her hitting stroke and has Verndale playing up to its standards.
"Every year our team seems to turn around during the Menahga tournament," said Verndale pitcher-first baseman Sami Seaton. "For me, I went 7 of 11 and had a really good hitting day. They have me hitting in the cleanup position so I was able to drive in a few runs too."
Since the Menahga tournament, Seaton was 2-for-4 with three runs and three RBI in a 12-3 victory over Ashby April 25.
In a 29-16 Park Region Conference victory against Pillager, Seaton was 4-for-7 with seven RBI and four runs.
Position: Pitcher, shortstop
In Verndale's last six games, Seaton has put together a .538 average (14-26) with 17 RBI and nine runs.
On the season she's batting .438 with two doubles, 18 RBI and 11 runs.
"My swing has gotten a little more efficient and I'm making a lot better contact with the ball," said Seaton, who will attend and play volleyball at Vennard College in University Park, Iowa.
"It really helps having the girls in front of me get on base," Seaton added. "I prefer hitting with people on base. Stacey (Schoon) is our leadoff batter and she's really good at getting on by a walk or hit. Then we have Bobbi (Rogge) and Chelsa (Beaver) doing a nice job of getting a hit and getting on base."
Sami Seaton's goals are to hit .400 and have more pitching wins than losses. Currently, she's 3-3 on the mound, including a 12-3 victory over Pequot Lakes at the Menahga tournament.
"She's not a real strikeout pitcher, but her control has gotten a lot better this year," said Verndale coach Tim Seaton. "We're trying to shore up our defense and once we do that we'll be a lot better. We've given up a lot of unearned runs. If we can get our defense figured out we'll be successful.
"Her control is a lot better. She doesn't throw overly fast, but she has pinpoint accuracy."
Seaton uses two different fastballs and a changeup to deceive batters. Her coach said when her changeup is working she's more effective.
A move to shortstop from first base has made Sami Seaton more effective on defense, too.
"She does really well at short, "Tim Seaton said. "We were struggling at that position earlier in the year and she's played pretty well there. With her height (5-foot-10) she can jump and take away line drives."
Other notable performances:
Golf -- Melissa Welshons, Aitkin, shot 50 for medalist honors in a Great River Conference meet at Cuyuna Country Club.
Softball -- Courtney Branstner, Verndale, was 5-for-7 with six RBI and three runs against Pillager.
Tiffany Dixon, Pillager, was 3-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI against Verndale.
Shari Berg, Staples-Motley, struck out 16 and earned two shutout victories against Pine River-Backus.
Erin Cusac, PR-B, was 3-3 with a double, triple and two RBI against Nevis.
Chelsea Einerwold, S-M, was 6-7 with three doubles, seven RBI and five runs in the Cardinal tournament.
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.