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Short-handed James Gang can't overcome six-run second inning in Sleepy Eye onslaught

Sean Ellertson
Jaelyn Haler tags out a Sleepy Eye runner at second on a strong throw from Torri Mohwinkel.

Minus five major contributors due to a tournament in Iowa, the James Gang 16U team couldn't find a way to slow down Sleepy Eye's bats, and the guests slugged their way to an 11-2 win.

Key pieces Addie Bowers, Maddie Brey, Addie Bowers, Taylor Sodeman, and Kelsey Grunewald all missed Thursday's action.

Lunden Swanson got the start from the pitching circle in place of Bowers.

Swanson surrendered a run in the first inning, but her offense was able to strike in the bottom of the first as Ava Rohmsdahl legged out an infield single, scoring Ellie Becker in the process.

In the top of the second, Sleepy Eye's offense exploded for six runs on Swanson and the James Gang on the strength of five singles and a two-run double.

Sleepy Eye tagged Swanson for another run in the fourth.

In the bottom half, Jaelyn Haler scored via wild pitch.

In the top of the sixth, Sleepy Eye plated three more runs for good measure.

"I had to try and find— without my third [baseman], shortstop and first baseman— I had to find someone," said head coach Averie Barrett. "I knew Jaelyn has played shortstop quite a bit. I knew Ellie could see the ball and she has the attitude of a third baseman so we had her practice there yesterday."

Rohmsadhl filled the void left by Brey at first base, a position Barrett has never seen her man.

"The starters that are gone have bigger bats," said Barrett. "It's a lot of mechanics it's a lot of confidence too."

Overall, Barrett was pleased with the play and effort of her club.

"They really stepped up, especially defensively," said Barrett.