BENSON — Making contact against West Central Area pitcher Emma Swenson is no easy task. Just last week in a game against Hancock on April 26, the Knights’ ace tallied 19 strikeouts in an 8-7 victory.
Benson knew it would have its hands full in a non-conference game Monday. But with multi-hit nights from three players and a total of 11 stolen bases, the Braves emerged a 5-3 victor.
“(Swenson) threw a really nice riseball,” said Benson head softball coach Barb Schwarz. “We knew it was going to be a battle. The kids worked hard in the batter’s box.”
While Swenson racked up 12 strikeouts, a wild pitch allowed the Braves to get on the board in the bottom of the first inning as Ellie Moesenthin reached home. Lexie Simmonds scored later in the inning on a Marissa Connelly groundout.
WCA tied things up in the top of the second after drawing two straight bases-loaded walks. Benson went back up by one after Bella Wolter scored on another wild pitch, only for the Knights to tie it again following a Braves error.
In the bottom of the fifth, Benson took the lead for good. Connelly got the game-winning run after steals home. In the same at-bat, a Sarah Brandt ground ball single allowed Zoe Doscher to score an insurance run.
Brandt and Wolter were both 2-for-3 for the Braves while Adysen Himley, the No. 9 batter in the lineup, was 2-for-4. Wolter was also the winning pitcher, striking out five in a complete-game effort.
Benson’s hot start continues as the team now sits with a 7-1 record. Since 2016, the Braves have won more than seven games in a season once, going 8-10 in 2018.
“It’s been a while, Schwarz said of the strong start. “It’s really kind of fun.”
Benson will host Sauk Centre on Thursday for a West Central Conference doubleheader.
Benson 5, WCA 3
WCA 021 000 0-3 6 1
Benson 210 020 x-5 7 5
Hitting - WCA: Alaina Sykora 1-3 rbi bb sb, Madi Hanson 1-3 rbi bb, Emma Swenson 0-3 bb, Halle Foslien 1-4 sb, Addison Staples 1-3 bb, Claire Stark 0-4 r-2, Mya Foslien 1-4 r, KJ Nibbe 0-2 hbp, Sydney Ulrich 1-2 2b hbp … Benson: Ellie Moesenthin 1-3 r hbp sb-3, Sarah Brandt 2-3 rbi sb, Bella Wolter 2-3 2b r, Adysen Himley 2-4 r rbi sb, Lexie Simmonds 0-3 r sb bb, Marissa Connelly 0-1 r rbi sb-3 bb, Zoe Doscher 0-2 r sb-2 bb, Rachel Berens 0-2 bb.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - WCA: Swenson (L) 6-7-6-6-4-12 … Benson: Wolter (W) 7-6-3-0-4-5.
Avery Stilwell slugged a pair of home runs, driving in four, and Britney Pahl went 4-for-4 to lead the host Litchfield Dragons over Norwood Young America.
NYA 000 232-7 8 4
Litchfield 353 51-17 12 2
Hitting - NYA: Stats not available … Litchfield: Janessa Olson 0-4 r rbi-2, Emma DeWolf 0-2 r-2 rbi-2 bb-2, Avery Stilwell 2-3 r-2 rbi-4 bb hr-2, Sydney McCann 2-3 r-2 rbi sb, Liv Holmgren 1-2 r bb-2, Kristin Foley 1-3 r rbi-3 bb 2b, Ryanna Steinhaus 1-3 r-2 bb, Addie Marquardt 1-3 r-3 rbi bb, Britney Prahl 4-4 r-3 rbi-3 2b sb.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - NYA: N/A … Litchfield: Taylor Draeger (W) 5-8-7-6-0-3
Dawson-Boyd got big games from Taylen Jorgenson and Madison Hanson to secure the non-conference victory at Ortonville.
Jorgenson went 5-for-5 with a double and Hanson was 3-for-3 with two walks for the Blackjacks.
Alli Esteling pitched four innings, striking out four. She threw 34 strikes and 51 balls. Cadence Dove pitched three innings, striking out five. She threw 23 strikes and eight balls.
Hitting - D-B: Taylen Jorgenson 5-5 2b, madison Hanson 3-3 bb-2, Madison Peterson 1-2 2b, Alli Estling 2-5 2b … Ortonville: Stats not available.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - D-B: N/A … Ortonville: N/A
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh, but saw its rally fall short in the non-conference loss to Dassel-Cokato at Grove City.
Haley Wilner went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs and Mikaili Johnson was 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs and an RBI for the Falcons. Macy Elton chipped in with a 2-for-4 effort, smacking a double and driving in four runs.
D-C 530 001 1-10 7 2
ACGC 310 000 5-9 12 6
Hitting - D-C: A. Carlen 0-4 r bb, E. O’Brien 2-5 r, A. Kivisto 0-4 r bb, B. Quern 0-3 r-3 bb-2, K. Rassat 0-3 r hbp, S. Nelson 1-2 r rbi bb hbp, A. Quern 1-4 r, M. Bayerl 0-4 rbi, J. Kritt 3-4 r rbi sb … ACGC: Haley Wilner 3-4 r-2 2b-2, Makaili Johnson 3-4 r-2 rbi 3b, Taylor Hoekstra 1-4 r rbi, Abbie Kragenbring 2-3 r-2 rbi 2b bb, macy Elton 2-4 rbi-4 2b sb, Ally Giese 1-3 r 2b.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - D-C: O’Brien (W) 7-12-9-9-2-17 … ACGC: Kragenbring (L) 6-6-7-1-4-2, Miller 1-1-3-2-1-0
Sawatzky struck out 11 and walked one.
Macie Lund and Addy Bonn led LQPV offensively. Lund went 3-for-5 with three runs and an RBI. Bonn was 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs and an RBI.
LQPV 120 65-14 14 0
MACCRAY 000 00- 0 0 2
Hitting - LQPV: Macie Lund 3-5 r-3 rbi, Taylor Shelstad 2-3 r-2 rbi, Rylee Sawatzky 1-3 2b r rbi-4, Cassidie Olson 2-4 2b rbi, Rylee Lund 1-4 2b r-2, Addy Bonn 3-4 3b r-2 rbi, Isabel Gerdes 1-2 3b r rbi, Ayanna Gipson 1-4 r rbi, Taylor Kittelson r-2 … MACCRAY: No hits.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - LQPV: Sawatzky (W) 5-0-0-0-1-11 … MACCRAY: Stats not available.
Taylor Shelstad, Rylee Sawatzky and Rylee Lund each had three hits to lead Lac qui Parle Valley to the doubleheader sweep over MACCRAY at Madison.
Shelstad was 3-for-3 with two doubles, three runs and an RBI. Sawatzky went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and four RBI. Rylee Lund was 3-for-3 with a triple, three runs and two RBI.
Olivia Naetjes went 1-for-2 with a triple and a run for MACCRAY.
MACCRAY 000 2- 2 5 2
LQPV 933 2-17 15 1
Hitting - MACCRAY: Emma Rand 1-1, Ashley Levitz-Michels 1-1, Ali Koenen 1-1, Olivia Naetjes 1-2 3b r, Tayte Nokleby 1-1 r … LQPV: Macie Lund 1-4 2b r, Taylor Shelstad 3-3 2b-2 r-3 rbi, Rylee Sawatzky 3-4 2b-2 r-2 rbi-4, Cassidie Olson r-2, Rylee Lund 3-3 3b r-3 rbi-2, Addy Bonn 2-2 r-3 rbi-3, Isabel Gerdes 1-2 rbi-2, Ayanna Gipson 1-3 r-2 rbi, Taylor Kittelson 1-2 r rbi.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - MACCRAY: Stats not available … LQPV: Sawatzky (W) 4-5-2-1-4-7.
Minneota/Canby used 13 hit-by-pitches, six walks, four hits and three errors to beat Yellow Medicine East at Granite Falls.
Ashlee Cole was hit by pitch four times and scored four runs. Audra Buysee was hit three times and scored three runs. Abby Hennen went 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBI a hit-by-pitch and three stolen bases for M/C.
Hannah Star and Bayli Sneller each 1-for-3 for YME.
M/C 151 64-17 4 3
YME 101 01-3 2 3
Hitting - M/C: Abby Roster 0-2 r-3 bb-3 rbi-3, Summer Hennen 1-2 rbi-3 bb hbp, Abby Hennen 2-4 r-2 rbi-2 hbp sb-3, Ava Larson 1-3 rbi bb 2b hbp, Lexi Sanow 0-3 r hbp, Audra Buysse 0-1 r-3 hbp-3 sb, Ashlee Cole 0-0 r-4 hbp-4 sb, Tylee Groenhoff 0-2 r rbi hbp, Tessa Anhalf 0-2 r-3 rbi bb hbp… YME: Yansi Flores 0-2 bb, Kaitlin Wohlman 0-1 r bb-2, Cherish Hammer 0-3 r-2, Hannah Stark 1-3, Hope Stark 0-1 bb, Bayli Sneller 1-3 rbi-2.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - M/C: Larson (W) 5-2-3-0-4-5 … YME: Jenna Weir 1.1-3-6-6-2-1, Sneller (L) 3.2-1-11-5-4-6.
M/C 10, YME 5
Minneota/Canby completed the sweep of Yellow Medicine East at Granite Falls.
Abby Hennen went 1-for-3 with a triple and Ava Larson was 1-for-3 with a double for M/C.
For YME, Yansi Flores was 1-for-2 with a triple, a run and two RBI.