Brandon-Evansville senior Mikenna Pattrin couldn't wait to take the field on her home diamond after nearly two years away. On Friday night, the Chargers dominated the Rothsay Tigers 16-1 in four innings behind her shutdown pitching and lethal offensive from experienced hitters.
"I'm so happy to be back with my team," Pattrin said. "To be in the circle pitching, it feels like home. With us seniors missing our junior year, it really made us appreciate softball a little more."
Senior Bailey Schaefer got things going when she belted a two-run home run over the left-field fence in the bottom of the first inning.
"Bailey is a kid that's always hard on herself and always pushing herself to do better," B-E head coach Kasi Sieling said. "She's the one taking all the extra cuts she can get. To see her come in and do the little things in the box to make good contact like that really sets the tone for the team. It really gets them going."
Pattrin struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning before Sydney Schaefer capped off a three-run inning for the Chargers by scoring on a fielder's choice.
Rothsay's only run of the game came in the top of the third inning on a throwing error.
"I don't like walking batters," Pattrin said. "It'll get better. It's still early in the season. With the help of my team and their bats, especially Bailey, because that home run was awesome, we'll get where we need to be by the end of the season."
The blunder was matched with B-E's six straight one-out singles in the bottom of the inning. The Chargers broke the game wide open on a two-RBI triple from Pattrin.
B-E scored seven runs before the Tigers recorded the second out. The nine-run third inning was enough to put the game in cruise control. Pattrin threw a shutout fourth inning before the Chargers walked home two runs for the mercy-rule win.
Pattrin's pitching is one of the pieces of experience Sieling looks to lean on throughout the season.
"When we can go into a game knowing we have Mikenna, it helps the defense relax a little bit," Sieling said. "They know Mikenna is going to throw strikes, and they're going to do their best to make the plays behind her. It's about consistency. With Bailey behind the plate, they've been doing this for a lot of years. That consistency makes a big difference."
After B-E's big third inning, an opportunity opened up for new players to crack the stat sheet for the first time. Eight-grader Sophie Koep got her first-career hit to a rousing ovation from the Charger dugout.
"That was so much fun," Pattrin said. "It's always fun when somebody on the team gets their first varsity starts. Hopefully, sometime soon, Kylee (Dingwall) will get her first pitching stats. I'm really excited for that game."
Pattrin, Schaefer and Korrie Randt have been the de facto leaders for the Chargers in volleyball, baseball and now softball. Pattrin is hoping to get the newcomers excited by softball for years to come.
"We want to make softball something the younger girls want to keep doing," she said. "We want to be known as the fun seniors that were inspiring to the younger players on the team. We want them to come out every day loving the sport and having fun in practice. We want them to have as much as we're having."
ROTHSAY 001 0XX X - 1
BRANDON-EVANSVILLE 239 2XX X - 16
B-E HITTING- Kaytlyn Pattrin 1-3, 2R; Kendra Klimek 1-2, R; Kylee Dingwall 1-2, 2R; Sophie Koep 1-1; Olivia Otto 1-2, 2R, RBI; Mikenna Pattrin 2-4, R, 2RBI, 3B; Bailey Schaefer 4-4, HR, 2R; Sydney Schaefer 3-4, 4R, RBI;
B-E PITCHING- Mikenna Pattrin 4IP, H, R, 0ER, 2BB, 6K