Irish hope they’ve found winning formula
Eagan softball team’s struggles continue in loss to Rosemount
Rosemount believes it has turned a corner. Eagan is still looking for the corner.
The Irish moved closer to .500 with its 7-5 victory over the Wildcats in a South Suburban Conference softball game Monday. Rosemount improved to 5-6 while Eagan’s record, which has been in a free fall since the beginning of the season, dropped to 0-10.
“I’ll never count Eagan out,” Rosemount coach Tiffany Rose said. “Not with their coaching staff and their hitters. We saw today how good they are.”
Eagan trailed 3-0 early before coming back to tie the game 4-4 in the top of the fifth inning. Rosemount regained the lead in the bottom of the inning by scoring three runs. Melissa Seldon doubled in one run, with the others scoring on a passed ball and Grace Longman’s sacrifice fly. Eagan committed three errors in the inning.
The victory was Rosemount’s third in a row.
“We started the season by facing some of the best pitchers in our conference,” Rose said. “We’re a young team, and some of our girls are learning what they have to do to compete in this conference.”
The Irish also have had to make some lineup adjustments. Outfielder Summer Lindelien, the only senior on the roster, missed some time last week because of an injury and was available only to pinch-hit Monday.
That made Seldon, who had been splitting time between pitching and the outfield, the starting center fielder. Defensively, “she’s as good as you could want out there,” Rose said.
As part of the lineup chain reaction, the Irish’s pitching got a whole lot younger. Ninth-grader Nicole Johnson started the Eagan game and seventh-grader Gabby Sprang closed.
“It’s good to have tall pitchers, and Gabby is 5-10,” Rose said. “I also think she’s used to playing against older girls. This isn’t the first time she’s had to do it.”
The Irish faced Prior Lake on Wednesday and Eastview on Thursday. They play Roseville in a non-conference game at home at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Eagan catcher Jenna Bromen helped get her team back in the Rosemount game with a two-run double in the fourth inning. In the fifth, Blair Blanchette’s sacrifice fly scored pitcher Madison Haus, and a throwing error allowed another run to score, tying the game 4-4.
The Wildcats’ record includes seven losses by one or two runs, including a 1-0 defeat against No. 1-ranked Bloomington Jefferson. They played Lakeville South on Wednesday and Burnsville on Thursday.
Getting well this weekend won’t be easy for Eagan as it plays in the Eastview Great 8 tournament, where the field includes Jefferson and No. 2-ranked North St. Paul. The Wildcats play Maple Grove in the opening round at 10 a.m. at Johnny Cake Ridge Park in Apple Valley.