Addie Bowers overcame an early homerun allowed, and the Saints used baserunning aggressiveness to their advantage to defeat the Fairmont Cardinals to stay undefeated.
Taylor Crissinger started the scoring for the Cardinals in the top of the first, taking Addie Bowers the other way to right field for a home run.
The solo shot from Crissinger was the first run that Bowers allowed on the year. St. James answered the Fairmont strike with one fo their own in the bottom half.
Renata Hernandez started the Saints off with a single. Torri Mohwinkel laid down a sacrifice bunt. Hernandez, ever heads up on the bases, advanced to third and an errant throw to third by the Cardinals allowed Hernandez to come all the way around for the Saints.
“There have been games where we didn’t bunt at all and then there are games like today where we’re doing a lot of stuff,” said head coach Sam Baumgartner. “The thing about the bunt is you can see how a defense reacts, and when Torri put down that bunt and Renata went from first to third, they weren’t aware of her speed. Then with nobody in coverage, she was able to score. We can put a lot of pressure on teams if we’re successful in the bunting game.”
Following two quick innings of work by Bowers that kept the game tied at 1-1, Hernandez once again started a St. James rally.
The senior shortstop reached on an infield single and stole second. Mohwinkel followed up with a single, advancing to second on the throw home. Hernandez held at third and was driven in on the next pitch by Chloe Mickelson. Maddie Brey followed up with a bunt, scoring Mohwinkel from third.
Bowers produced a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth.
In the bottom half, Kelsey Grunewald doubled to left and came around to score on a Bowers RBI single to right to make it 4-1 Saints. In the top of the sixth, Bowers recorded two quick outs, but once again fell victim to Crissinger, who took Bowers deep to right for the second time. Bowers escaped the sixth without any more damage done.
“After that first at-bat, we definitely tried to throw more offspeed. What she hit the first time was an inside fastball and Addie just left it out over the plate too much,” said Baumgartner. “We were able to get a strikeout in her second at-bat on a changeup. But she’s a good hitter and she adjusted.”
“I give Addie a lot of credit for not getting rattled after that first homerun. She settled in and pitched a really nice game.”
A potential St. James rally in the bottom of the sixth was shut down when Danielle Chapin was thrown out at third base, attempting to go first-to-third on a single by Samantha Tetzloff.
Bowers came back on for the seventh inning, looking for her third straight complete game, and immediately got a groundout by Madison Moeller.
Whitney Scott followed up with a double to right center field, bringing the tying run to the plate in Chloe Murphy. Murphy worked a walk, setting the stage for Hailey Myers.
“I just told them not to worry,” said Baumgartner, who called for a mound visit. “Actually that walk helped up set up a force at any base and we were just going to go to the nearest base and take that out. We weren’t going to throw the ball around or anything like that.”
Bowers mowed down Myers on three pitches. Cambrie Anderson provided the lost hope for Fairmont, but struck out on a 3-2 fastball from Bowers, leaving the tying run on first.
Bowers finished with seven strikeouts, allowing two runs on just three hits. Hernandez led the Saints, going 2/3 with two runs and a stolen base.
Mohwinkel, Mickelson, Brey, and Bowers each added a hit and an RBI in the winning effort.
The Saints improve to 3-0 on the season, while Fairmont falters to 1-3.
St. James in back in play on Monday against Pipestone Area in a double-header at the Fairgrounds. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m.