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Prep softball: Brainerd pounds Willmar

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Willmar sophomore catcher Hannah Schirm reaches to reclaim the relay throw from first base as Brainerd’s Faith Kassulker scores from third on a teammate’s groundout in the fourth inning Tuesday at Swansson Yellow Field in Willmar.

WILLMAR — It was a tough assignment for Willmar freshman pitcher Lexi Kopacek making her varsity debut Tuesday.

Not only was it just 38 degrees but she had to take on a senior-heavy Brainerd nine that had scored 42 runs in its three wins coming in.

The Warriors (2-0, 4-0) posted three runs on three hits and a Willmar error in the first and added a pair of four-run innings in both the third and the fourth for an 11-0, five-inning win.

And Kopacek didn’t get much support in the field. Three catchable fly balls, though well hit, went for hits and a fourth was dropped.

The infield play and relays also looked rough.

The game contrasted with Thursday’s win at Alexandria to open the season.

“We need to find that top-notch chemistry again,” head coach Shannon Cayler said. “Brainerd is solid but we didn’t give them the competition we should have.”

Jamie Reyes and Megan Rudnick coupled solid hits in the third for Willmar’s only threat facing Maddie Franz, who finished with a four-hitter with one walk.

Kopacek was tagged for 11 hits in four innings with no walks.

Willmar (1-1, 1-1) plays a twin bill Thursday at St. Cloud Tech at the Discovery School fields.

Brainerd 11, Willmar 0

Brainerd (2-0, 4-0)            304 40 —11 11 1 

Willmar (1-1, 1-1)              000 00 —  0  4  3 

HITTING – Brainerd: Bailey O’Hotto 1-for-4, Kristina Anderson 1-for-2, Elizabeth Rueger 1-for-3, Maria West 3-for-3, 3 runs; Sara Wennerstrand 1-for-3, 2 runs; Faith Kassulker 3-for-3, 2 runs, 3b; Maddie Franz 1-for-3 … Willmar: Allison Roehl 2-for-3, Jamie Reyes 1-for-3, Megan Rudnick 1-for-1, bb

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brainerd: Maddie Franz (W) 5-4-0-0-1-4 … Willmar: Lexi Kopacek (L) 4-11-11-8-0-1, Leah Ruter 1-0-0-0-0-2

Rand Middleton
Tribune photographer/videographer. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime news/sports beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 
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