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Prep Softball: Willmar goes 3-0 at Hutchinson Invite

HUTCHINSON -- The Willmar Cardinals swept at the Hutchinson softball invitational on Saturday to get off to a 4-0 start on the season.

The Cardinals won the first game in a breeze, blanking the host 10-0, but the next two were undecided until the final out as they edged Dassel-Cokato 3-2 and Holy Family Catholic 4-3.

Lindsey Atchison had six hits and was one of three Cardinals that had three RBIs on the day. Leah Ruter picked up two wins in the pitcher's circle.

Willmar is off until Thursday when it heads north to play Sauk Rapids in a Central Lakes Conference game. The Cardinals don't play at home until next Tuesday when they host Brainerd in a CLC doubleheader.

Game One

Willmar 10, Hutchinson 0

Heather Horning declawed the Tigers with nine strikeouts in five innings. The host team managed two hits but didn't get a walk off the junior flamethrower.

Both Horning and Casey Marcus drove in three runs, while Atchison, Laura Swartz, Horning and Addy Nelsen lashed doubles.

Game Two

Willmar 3, Dassel-Cokato 2

Ruter, a freshman, debuted with a victory in a tight game with the Chargers.

Sarah Roehl scored what proved to be the winning run with a smart steal of third base and then cruising home on a hurried throw that rolled into left field allowing her to score.

The Chargers got the tying run on second in the seventh, but Ruter hung tough against a tough hitter. She got the out on a hard-hit ball on which outfielder Leah Ramon made a long run and stretched out to make the catch.

Game Three

Willmar 4, Holy Family Catholic 3

Willmar trailed 2-0 in the fourth when Anissa Tallakson drew a walk. Erica Cuchna followed with a single and with one out Ruter waked to load the bases. Kassy Linbo hit a shot to score two runs and tied the game.

Willmar added two more in the bottom of the fifth. Singles by Roehl and Atchison were followed by a double steal. Marcus walked to load the bases and Tallakson walked again to bring in a run before Kassie Boller delivered the game-winning RBI single.

Ruter got the win with two innings of flawless, middle-inning relief of starter Jordan Martins. Horning threw the seventh for the save. With the tying run at third, she got the third out with her 11th strikeout in six innings of pitching on the day.

First-year head coach Shannon Cayler, who formerly coached the junior varsity, commented that "It was a wonderful day of softball'' for the Cardinals.

Horning's innings were limited, Cayler noted, due to a sore lower back.

Tournament scores

Willmar 10, Hutchinson 0

Willmar 3, Dassel-Cokato 2

Willmar 4, Holy Family Catholic 3

Dassel-Cokato 16, Holy Family Catholic 0

Holy Family Catholic 13, Hutchinson 9

Hutchinson 6, Dassel-Cokato 2

Willmar composite statistics

HITTING: Lindsey Atchison 6-for-9, 2 runs, 2 2b's, 3 rbi; Kassie Boller 1-for-3, rbi; Erica Cuchna 1-for-3, Casey Marcus 2-for-8, 2 runs, 3 rbi; Sarah Roehl 4-for-9, 3 runs; Addy Nelsen 1-for-5, 2b; Laura Swartz 1-for-6, 2b, rbi; Anissa Tallakson 1-for-2, 4 bb's, rbi; Heather Horning 1-for-4, 2b, 3 rbi; Kassy Linbo 2-for-6, 4 runs, 2b, 3 sb's, 3 bb's, 2 rbi; Jordan Martins 2-for-9, 2 runs; Leah Ruter 1-for-2, 2b

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Heather Horning (W, S) 6-2-0-0-0-11, Leah Ruter (W, W) 10-9-3-3-2-5, Jordan Martins 3-5-2-1-1-1