Back in the hunt: Cards sweep BrainerdAlexandria's ace dominated the Warriors for a pair of wins
The Cardinal softball team knew what needed to be done in its doubleheader with Brainerd Tuesday night, and did it.
Trailing the Warriors by two games in the Central Lakes Conference standings with just four games remaining, the Cards realized that they would need to win both games if they wanted a chance to repeat as CLC champions.
They did, and in fine fashion, 8-0 and 11-3.
Dani Bany, Alexandria’s senior pitcher, was stellar in both games as she struck out a total of 11 batters and allowed just two earned runs in 14 innings of play.
“She was spectacular,” said Card head coach Bob Cunniff of Bany’s performance.
Six runs in the top of the seventh broke open a 2-0 first game as the Cardinals took advantage of a pair of walks, two hit batsmen, two wild pitches and two Brainerd errors.
The Cards added to Brainerd’s woes with RBI singles by Ally Teclaw and Kate Gearman to bring home six runs and put the game out of reach.
“Brainerd has a really good freshman pitcher in Nikki Anderson,” said Cunniff. “We rattled her a little, especially with our aggressive base running.”
Teclaw and Gracie Bruzek led the offense with two hits each.
Game two was tight early, but a big double in the bottom of the fourth changed all that.
“Gearman’s double just broke their backs,” said Cunniff.
Teclaw put an exclamation point on the win as she pounded out a 230-foot solo home run in the fifth, her third homer of the season.
“I just love these seniors,” said the Cardinal coach. “They work so hard, and now we are right back in it and I know they will continue to work hard.”
The sweep moved the Cardinals to 8-2 in CLC action, while Brainerd is now at 9-2, while Rocori also sits at 8-2 to crowd the top spot.
ALEXANDRIA 010 001 6 8-7-1
BRAINERD 000 000 0 0-2-3
PITCHING – Dani Bany, WP, 7IP-2H-0R-0ER-1BB-7SO.
HITTING – Gracie Bruzek 2 hit, 1 run; Kate Gearman 1 hit, 1 rbi; Ally Teclaw 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 rbi; Shenae Morical 1 hit, Allie Thul 1 hit; Sam Dale 2 runs; Carrie Wendland 1 run; Courtney Richardson 1 run, 1 rbi; Alicia Montbriand 1 rbi.
BRAINERD 020 100 0 3-3-3
ALEXANDRIA 202 313 X 11-12-2
PITCHING – Dani Bany, WP, 7IP-3H-3R-2ER-3BB-4SO.
HITTING – Richardson 3 hits, 1 run, 3 rbi; Teclaw 3 hits, 1 run, 3 rbi; Gearman 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 rbi; Bruzek 1 hit, 3 runs; Dale 1 hit, 3 runs, 2 rbi; Morical 1 hit, 1 run; Thul 1 hit, 1 run.