Softball roundup: An unusual home opener for the Willmar Cardinals

Prep softball report for Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in west central Minnesota. Willmar gets in 2 games on makeshift field at high school, losing twice to Rocori

Willmar sophomore shortstop Hannah Magnuson throws the ball to first base during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Willmar sophomore shortstop Hannah Magnuson throws the ball to first base during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — The Willmar softball team was able to piece together a home opener on Tuesday afternoon.

With Rocori in town for a Central Lakes Conference doubleheader, the Cardinals made one of the turf fields adjacent to the high school a temporary field. Nets were put up behind home plate and along the benches. The outfield wall was put together with safety fencing zip-tied to track hurdles. A portable pitching rubber made up the circle as the winds caused the football goal posts to rattle like a cowbell.

Under these unique circumstances, Rocori left with the sweep. The Spartans took Game 1, 10-2, then got a 13-3 five-inning victory in the finale.

Willmar junior Lexi Owens takes a swing at a pitch during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Willmar junior Lexi Owens takes a swing at a pitch during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

“It took a lot to get some games in, but I was happy to get out there and play,” said Willmar head coach Christian Brown. “I wish the outcomes would have gone more our way but we’ll continue to work on the things we need to and continue to try and get a little better each time out.

“Rocori is always a good team and you really have to play your best softball to beat them. As a team, we fell short tonight. We’ll get back at it on Thursday when we play St. Cloud and hope that we can come out on top.”


Game 1 saw Rocori jump out to a 5-0 lead. Sophia Hess hit a two-run single. Two batters later, Madison Terres drove the ball to deep center. The ball bounced off the glove of the fielder, over the temporary fencing for a four-base error.

Both Willmar runs came courtesy of Emily Mireles. She hit a sacrifice fly in the second, followed by a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fifth.

Game 2 saw the Spartans go off for 11 hits, led by Maggie Primus. She went 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, two runs and three RBIs. Brooklyn Hofer was 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first.

Madison Norsten finished 2-for-2 with a pair of runs for Willmar in the nightcap. Hailie Smith also finished 2-for-2.

The Cardinals go to St. Cloud Apollo on Thursday for a doubleheader against the St. Cloud Crush.

Central Lakes

Game 2: Rocori 13, Willmar 3

Willmar  200   01-3   7   0
Rocori    237   01-13   11   5
Hitting - Willmar: Madison Norsten 2-2 r-2 hbp, Lexi Owens 1-3 r, Zoe Schroeder 1-3 Emiily Mireles 1-3, Hailie Smith 2-2 sb, Zadina Butcher 0-1 bb-2 sb-2 … Rocori: Sophie Hess 1-2 r rbi bb, Brooklyn Hofer 2-2 hr r-3 rbi-3, Maggie Primus 4-4 2b 3b r-2 rbi-3, Jenna Boos 1-2 rbi bb hbp, Jessica Boos 1-2 r rbi hbp, Jenna Rausch 1-3 rbi-2, Madilyn Molitor 1-1 2b r-2 bb sb hbp, Ellie Koeniguer 0-0 r bb, Madison Terres 0-2 r-2 bb-2, Libby Reitmeier 0-1 r rbi bb-2 sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Grace Bjur (L) 3-9-12-12-7-2, Grace Etterman 1-2-1-1-1-0 … Rocori: Primus (W) 5-7-3-0-2-8

Game 1: Rocori 10, Willmar 2

Rocori   052   120   0-10   12   1
Willmar     010   010   0-2   3   4
Hitting - Rocori: Sophie Hess 1-4 r rbi-2 bb, Brooklyn Hofer 3-4 hr r-2 rbi-2, Madison Terres 1-4 hr r-2 rbi, Jenna Boos 1-3 bb, Ellie Koeniguer 1-3 2b r, Janae Owen 1-4 r-2 rbi sb, Madilyn Molitor 2-3 r-2 sb-2, Jordyn Illies 1-1 sb, Jessica Boos 1-3 … Willmar: Zoe Schroeder 1-3 2b r, Emily Mireles 2-3 hr r rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Rocori: Jenna Boos (W) 7-3-2-2-2-10 … Willmar: Grace Etterman (L) 7-12-10-6-3-5

Willmar sophomore Grace Etterman fires off a pitch during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Willmar sophomore Grace Etterman fires off a pitch during a Central Lakes Conference game against Rocori on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at Willmar High School.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune


Wright County

NLS 9, Litchfield 6

New London-Spicer rallied from a 5-0 first-inning deficit to earn the season-opening victory at Litchfield.

NLS turned a triple play in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, a pop-up was hit to Wildcats pitcher Addi Nelson, who caught the ball and threw it to second baseman Maren Munch. Munch applied the tag to get the second out, then fired home to catch a Litchfield runner trying to advance. Catcher Mallory Johnson applied the tag to record the third out.

“I have never been a part of a triple play,” NLS head coach Melissa Bergeson said.

Nelson got the win in relief, going four scoreless innings. She allowed two hits and two walks.

Dalayne Hatlestad went 3-for-4 with two runs and two stolen bases and Munch was 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and two stolen bases for the Wildcats.

Liv Olson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Izzy Pennertz went 2-for-4 for the Dragons.

NLS has a doubleheader scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday at Rockford. Litchfield is to play two at 4 p.m. Thursday at Glencoe-Silver Lake.

NLS              012   131   1-9   7   4
Litchfield     501   000   0-6   9   0
Hitting - NLS: Dalayne Hatlestad 3-4 r-2 sb-2, Delaney Hanson 1-4 2b rbi-3, Maren Munsch 3-4 2b 3b sb-2 … Litchfield: Liv Holmgren 1-4 2b, Grace Braaten 1-4, Karlee Prahl 1-4, Izzy Pennertz 2-4, Ryanna Steinhaus 1-4, Pam Iverson 1-3 2b rbi sb, Kaitlyn Palmer 1-3 sb rbi, Liv Olson 2-3 rbi-2, Izzy Culbertson 0-2 rbi bb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - NLS: Emily Ruter 3-7-6-1-2-1, Addi Nelson (W) 4-2-0-0-2-0 … Litchfield: stats not available


Central Minnesota

ACGC 9, Paynesville 6

Mikaili Johnson smacked a three-run homer in the sixth inning and the Falcons scored five runs in the seventh to lead Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City to the victory at Paynesville.

Paynesville starting pitcher Ariana Messer had a no-hitter until there were two outs in the sixth inning.

Kadence Martin went 2-for-3 with an RBI for ACGC.

Kaydence Roeske was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI and Sierra Rouser went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs for the Bulldogs.

Paynesville is scheduled to host Holdingford on Thursday. ACGC plays at 4 p.m. Thursday at Royalton.

ACGC             000   013   5-9   5   2
Paynesville     200   021   1-6   6   4
Hitting - ACGC: Mikaili Johnson 1-5 hr rbi-3, Kendall Miller 1-4 rbi-2, Kadence Martin 2-3 rbi, Brooke Schultz 1-2 … Paynesville: Kaydence Roeske 3-4 r-2 2b rbi, Kianna Brooks 1-4, Sierra Rouser 1-3 hr rbi-2, Katie Good 1-2
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - ACGC: Miller (W) 6-6-6-4-8-6 … Paynesville: Ariana Messer (L) 7-5-9-2-7-6

West Central

West Central Area 20, Minnewaska 10

Combining for 25 hits and 30 runs, West Central Area came away with the victory over host Minnewaska.

Emma Poegel was the Lakers’ top hitter, going 2-for-3 with a double and three runs scored.


West Central Area   332   444-20   19   1
Minnewaska             121   411-10   6   6
Hitting - West Central Area: Stats not available … Minnewaska: Grace Larson 1-3 r rbi bb sb, Emma Poegel 2-3 2b r-3 hbp sb, Ella Roering 1-3 rbi bb sb, Emara Sanow 1-1 rbi bb, Lauren Stryhn 1-3 2b r sb, Jenna Drewes 0-2 r-2 rbi bb-2 sb-2, Leslie Murken 0-2 r bb-2, Mataya Mix 0-2 r bb, Mesa Kittelson 0-1 r bb sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - West Central Area: Stats not available … Minnewaska: Mix (L) 6-19-20-16-9-4

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Game 2: KMS 9, RCW/BOLD 8

Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg and Renville County West/BOLD split a Camden Conference doubleheader at Danube.

The Jaguars picked up the victory in the opener. Shay Skold went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Mackenzie Manderschied went 1-for-1 with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases.

The Fighting Saints locked up the nightcap despite being out-hit 10-5. Avery Joyce was 2-for-2 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Taylor VanHeuveln scored a run and also got the complete-game victory for KMS.

RCW/BOLD  003   200   3-8   10   2
KMS               203   310   x-9   5   1
Hitting - KMS: Shakira Olson 1-3 2b r bb sb, Josie Gjerde 0-1 r-3 bb-3 sb-5, Katlyn Peters 0-2 r-3 bb-2 sb-4, Avery Joyce 2-2 2b r rbi bb-2 sb, Kya Oakes 1-4 rbi-3, Olivia Noble 0-3 rbi, Taylor VanHeuveln 1-3 r … RCW/BOLD: Shay Skold 3-5 2b r-2 rbi-2 sb-3, Delaney Tersteeg 1-3 r bb-2 sb-2, Laila Ridler 1-3 r rbi bb, Bre Winzenburg 2-4 r rbi-2, Hannah Savig 1-4 r, Kaitlyn Flann 0-3 rbi bb, Avery Posl 1-2 r-2 hbp-2, Abby King 1-3 rbi sac
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - KMS: VanHeuveln (W) 6-9-8-8-5-7 … RCW/BOLD: Flann 2.1-3-3-3-2-1, Posl (L) 1.2-0-2-2-4-2, Mackenna Hinderks 2-2-4-1-3-2

Game 1: RCW/BOLD 9, KMS 8

KMS                  010   200   5-8   9   2
RCW/BOLD      011   151   x-9   5   3
Hitting - KMS: Shakira Olson 1-4 r, K Peters 1-4 2b rbi, Avery Joyce 2-4 2b r-2 rbi-2 sb, Kya Oakes 1-3 r bb, Abby Holtkamp 1-4 2b r rbi, Karlee Danielson 1-3 r rbi bb sb, Madison Anderson 1-4 2b rbi-2 sb, Elsa Gjerde 1-3 r, Olivia Noble 0-0 r … RCW/BOLD: Shay Skold 3-4 rbi sb, Abby King 1-3 rbi, Mackenzie Manderschied 1-1 r-2 rbi-2 bb sac sb-2, Laila Ridler 0-2 r bb-2 sb, Bre Winzenburg 0-2 r-2 bb-2 sb-3, Hannah Savig 0-3 r bb sb, Avery Posl 0-2 r-2 rbi bb-2, Isabel O’Neill 0-0 r 
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - KMS: Anderson 2.1-2-2-2-5-3, Holtkamp (L) 3.2-3-7-6-6-5 … RCW/BOLD: Kaitlyn Flann (W) 7-9-8-7-3-3

TMB 5, Dawson-Boyd 2

Madalyn Wente and MaKaylee Wente were both 2-for-4 for Dawson-Boyd in a Camden Conference loss to Tracy-Milroy-Balaton at Dawson.


Madalyn had a double, an RBI and a stolen base. MaKaylee also had a double, drew two walks and had a stolen base.

Hitting - TMB: Stats not available … Dawson-Boyd: Madalyn Wente 2-4 2b rbi sb, Ali Estling 1-4 r sb, MaKaylee Wente 2-4 2b bb-2 sb, Kate Dahl 1-3 bb, Madison Peterson 1-3 bb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - TMB: Stats not available … Dawson-Boyd: Estling (L) 7-5-5-na-3-6

Game 2: LQPV 16, MACCRAY 7

LQPV cruised to a pair of wins in its season-opening doubleheader against MACCRAY at Madison. Game one finished in five innings. Game two finished in five innings due to darkness.

“I thought the girls really, in all aspects, played well, except for one tough inning in the second game,” LQPV head coach Scott Sawatzky said.

Eagles senior Taylor Shelstad pitched two complete games. In game one, she allowed one run and one hit with four strikeouts and three walks. In game two, she allowed six earned runs and four hits while striking out seven batters and walking nine.

“I thought Taylor Shelstad did an outstanding job for us in the circle,” Sawatzky said. “Rylee Lund was solid at the plate. Ayanna Gipson did a nice job behind the plate working and calling the game. Brandi Meyer and Jalyn Lee played well defensively and swung the bat well.”

LQPV is scheduled to play Russell-Tyler-Ruthton at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Tyler. MACCRAY is scheduled to play a doubleheader against Dawson-Boyd beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Raymond.

MACCRAY   000   70-7   4   10
LQPV           337   12-16   8   3
Hitting - MACCRAY: stats not available … LQPV: Taylor Shelstad 2-3 r-3, Rylee Lund 3-4 r-2, rbi-3, Ayanna Gipson 1-5 r rbi-3, Camryn Lee 1-4 r-2, Jalyn Lee 1-4 r-4
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - MACCRAY: Reyna Mendoza 5-8-16-6-9-5 … LQPV: Shelstad 5-4-7-6-9-7


Game 1: LQPV 11, MACCRAY 1

MACCRAY   000   01-1      1   0
LQPV           126   11-11   14   0
Hitting - MACCRAY: Erika Pieper 1-2 … LQPV: Madelyn Matthies 2-3 rbi, J. Lee 2-3 r-2 rbi-2, Gipson 2-3 r rbi-3, Brandi Meyer 2-4 r rbi, Kendyl Shelstad 2-4 r rbi, T. Shelstad 1-2 r rbi, Lund 1-2 r, Claire Borstad 1-4 r, Valerie Piotter 1-4 r rbi
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - MACCRAY: stats not available … LQPV: T. Shelstad 5-1-1-1-3-4

Game 2: Minneota/Canby 6, YME 5

The Minneota/Canby Vikings got the sweep over Yellow Medicine East with a pair of one-run victories at Granite Falls.

AshleeAnn Frazeur went 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run and an RBI for the Vikings in an eight-inning Game 1 victory. The Sting took the loss despite a 15-strikeout effort from pitcher Bayli Sneller.

Down 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Vikings put up six runs to take the lead for good.

Aria Peters, Sneller, Hope Stark and Riley Haar all had a hit for YME in the nightcap.

YME                        011   03-5   4   4
Minneota/Canby    000   6x-6   6   0
Hitting - YME: Aria Peters 1-1 2b r-2 rbi bb hbp sb-2, Bayli Sneller 1-3 rbi, Hope Stark 1-3 r sb, Riley Haar 1-1 2b rbi, Hannah Stark 0-3 rbi, Atrinity Tipton 0-1 r … Minneota/Canby: Kiersyn Hulzebos 2-3 rbi-2, Izabelle Hulzebos 1-3 r sb, AshleeAnn Frazeur 1-3 2b, Tessah Anhalt 1-2 r, Joelle Otto 1-2 r, Faith Myhre 0-3 r, Dakota Pesch 0-2 rbi, Rachel Fairchild 0-3 r, Autumn Tooley 0-1 r rbi hbp
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - YME: Abbie Winter (L) 4-6-6-2-0-3 … Minneota/Canby: Anhalt 0.2-0-0-0-1-0, Otto (W) 4.1-4-5-5-1-7

Game 1: Minneota/Canby 7, YME 5

Minneota/Canby   002   001   22-7   7   5
YME      010   003   10-5   9   4
Hitting - Minneota/Canby: Kiersyn Hulzebos 1-3 r bb-2 sb-2, Faith Myhre 1-4 3b r rbi bb, AshleeAnn Frazeur 2-3 2b-2 r rbi bb sb, Dakota Pesch 1-3 2b rbi-3 hbp, Rachel Fairchild 2-4 2b, Izabelle Hulzebos 0-5 r, Autumn Tooley 0-0 r, Kenadi Arndt 0-4 r sb, Joelle Otto 0-1 r rbi, Tessah Anhalt 0-3 rbi bb sb … YME: Aria Peters 2-3 2b-2 r bb hbp sb-2, Hannah Stark 1-5 2b r rbi, Hope Stark 2-4 r rbi hbp sb-3, Bayli Sneller 3-5 rbi sb, Isabelle Stark 1-1 rbi bb, Alana Almich 0-4 r, Hailey Baker 0-2 r
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Minneota/Canby: Brooke DeSmet (W) 6-8-4-3-3-8, Otto 2-1-1-0-2-3 … YME: Sneller (L) 8-7-7-4-5-15

Joe Brown is a sports reporter for the West Central Tribune.

He can be reached via email at: or his office number: 320-214-4332.
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