Bowers tosses no-hitter and two-hitter in pair of shutouts in opening week

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

Sophomore star pitcher Addie Bowers struck out 12 of 15 induced outs, including the first eight batters she faced, and Jaelyn Haler clubbed a three-run home run to left, leading the Saints to a dominant 12-0 victory over Martin County West in Friday's Opening Day matchup. 

Bowers breezed through the first inning, pumping in eight straight strikes to start the game, and setting down MCW's top of the order in strikeout fashion.

In the bottom half of the first, Bowers knocked in the game's first run with an RBI groundout to score Chloe Mickelson.

In the second, Bowers struck out the side again, setting down the heart of the Martin County West lineup in short order.

In the bottom half, following a Taylor Sodeman walk and McKenna Steinbrink hit-by-pitch, junior second baseman Jaelyn Haler cranked a three-run shot to left field, opening up the lead for St. James.

"I like her in the nine-hole because she's like my second leadoff hitter and that's why she's there," said head coach Sam Baumgartner. "She's improved so much with her patience at the plate. She doesn't swing at anything bad, which she's worked hard on. Just having that ability up and down your lineup that anybody can do some damage is a luxury we have this year." 

In the pitching circle, Bowers continued to rack up the K's, recording two more before a groundout to Maddie Brey at first base ended the strikeout streak at eight.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Saints struck for three more runs.

Mickelson singled to start off the inning. A stolen base, passed ball, and single to left by Bowers plated Mickelson for the second time in the game. Maddie Brey followed with a single to right to score Bowers.

Following a Sam Tetzloff groundout, Sodeman added to the hit parade with a single to left to score Brey and expand the lead to 7-0 heading into the fourth. 

To start the top of the fourth, Bowers set down two more Mavericks by way of the K, before surrendering her first two baserunners of the game with a pair of walks. A rare wild pitch from Bowers set the Mavs up with two runners in scoring position, but the righty flamethrower struck out her 11th batter of the afternoon to escape with the shutout still intact.In the bottom of the fourth, the Saints' offense put their final stamp on the impressive win.

Mickelson singled to score Torri Mohwinkel. Hits by Bowers and Brey loaded the bases for Sam Tetzloff who worked a walk, pushing the lead to 9-0.

Sodeman then grounded out to score Bowers. 

Kelsey Grunewald reached on an error to plate Brey and Tetzloff.

In the fifth, Bowers got a popout, strikeout, and groundout to close out her fourth career no-hitter.

"She just continues to get more hungry, more determined, and keeps working hard," said Baumgartner of Bowers. "Her performance on the mound today is absolutely deserved. She puts in the work. She pitched outstanding today. I can't say how well she was hitting her spots and did what she needed to do. Twelve strikeouts out of 15 outs is a stellar performance."

On Monday, Bowers was once again dominant, striking out 18 in a two-hit shutout win over Fairmont.

Bowers worked around a one-out single in the top of the first, recording a pair of strikeouts to close the inning. After a St. James flurry yielded no runs in the bottom of the first, Bowers struck out the side in the second. 

St. James loaded the bases in the second inning, but Mickelson grounded out to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Bowers once again struck out the side in the third.

In the bottom half, the Saints finally got on the board. 

A one-out double by Maddie Brey put the Saints in business. Following a Tetzloff strikeout, Sodeman came through with a double to right to score Brey. Sodeman then came around to score the Saints' second run on an RBI single by Kelsey Grunewald.

A line-out by Haler put an end to the inning and prevented further damage for the Cards.

Fairmont's best chance to score came in the top of the fourth inning. A leadoff walk and a pair of St. James errors put Cardinals on second and third with no outs.

Bowers, in typical fashion, struck out the next three batters to preserve the shutout streak.

St. James added runs in each the bottom of the fourth, fifth, and sixth, and Bowers shut the door in the seventh—striking out the side again—to slam the door shut on Fairmont, 5-0. 

Through two games, Bowers has only allowed two hits and has struck out 30 of a possible 36 outs.