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B-E softball: Chargers clutch on the mound and at the plate in opening win

Brandon-Evansville's Kinsley Randt goes into her windup during the first inning of Tuesday's season opener against Morris Area. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Brandon-Evansville senior pitcher Kinsley Randt got out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the seventh inning on Tuesday night as the Chargers softball team won the season opener against Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta in a 5-4 game.

Tigers junior Lauren Reimers had already hit a solo home run in the third inning when she stepped up to the plate in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and her team down by two. After a meeting at the mound by first-year head coach Kasi Huschle, Randt settled in and got Reimers to hit a sacrifice fly to left field before inducing a ground ball to second for the final out.

“Obviously don’t throw it down the middle at her,” Randt said of her approach against Reimers. “But just pitch it and see if she puts it in play so the defense can pick it up.”

Randt is the senior ace of the Brandon-Evansville pitching staff this year. She had three strikeouts and kept the Tigers lineup from putting up a crooked number early so her offense could go to work. She then showed her coach something with her ability to work out of that jam late to secure the win.

“It’s huge for Kinsley, a confidence booster,” Huschle said. “Last year, she was our number two pitcher and she wasn’t in a lot of situations like this. So to be able to have that opportunity right away and be able to get out of that jam is going to be a huge confidence boost for her.”

It didn’t take long for the offense to get Randt some run support. The Chargers trailed 1-0 after a half inning before erupting for three runs in the bottom half of the first. Junior shortstop Emma Friedrich got the scoring going with an RBI single to right. Randt and Sara Roers then followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to make it a 3-1 game.

The Tigers scored twice to tie the game in the third before it was Carrigan Okerlund’s turn to collect a clutch hit for Brandon-Evansville. The freshman catcher came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs when she smacked a single to left field to make it a 5-3 game.

“I knew I needed to get it in play and I needed to get somebody home,” Okerlund said. “I saw a strike. I definitely knew it was going to be there, and I made sure that I got contact.”

It might have been the first game of the season for both teams, but the Chargers did some of the things that Huschle wants to see from this group all year. The clutch two-out hitting that produced all five runs was right near the top of that list.

“It just shows that no matter what, our girls are going in there and they’re ready to attack,” Huschle said. “They’re confident. No matter what the situation is, they’re ready to get the ball in play and do something for us. That’s really huge that no matter what, we can step up and get those hits because a lot of times with two outs, especially with younger girls, it’s a shaky situation. I’m just as confident with two outs as I am with zero outs that they’re really ready to be clutch and get a hit for us when we need it.”

That was the case on Tuesday, and it was enough to help the Chargers get their season started on the right foot.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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