Five different Pirates notched RBIs in the loss.
The Pirates have steadily increased their run production in the first five games of the season. In their most recent affair, Crookston scattered 15 hits for nine runs, eight of those runs coming in the first inning. The Pirates (0-5) went on to commit six errors en route to a 22-9 loss after using their big inning to tie the game at 8-8.
Sophomore Jasmin Hanson got the start in the circle. Hanson pitched all five innings only being charged 14 of the 22 runs. Hanson also recorded one strikeout.
The Pirates’ offense was led by senior outfielders Jaeden Lizakowski and Brelee Jobe. Both recorded three hits with Lizakowski earning two runs and Jobe driving in two and scoring once. Hanson and freshman SS Emma Boll both collected two RBIs as well.
Crookston responded to East Polk’s eight-run first with four straight hits out of the gate. Lizakowski led off with a double and sophomore 2B Maddi Salentine singled. Then consecutive RBI singles by Hanson and Boll cut the deficit to 8-2.
Hanson came home on a passed ball to bring Crookston closer. Now trailing 8-3 with two outs, the Pirates rattled off six straight singles to tie the game. Sophomore 3B Kasey Cwikla, Jobe, Salentine, Hanson and Boll all earned RBIs in the process.
The rally started with an infield single by Cwikla that scored Boll. Then Jobe laid down a bunt that landed in front of a diving third baseman to score sophomore Allie Love.
Salentine popped a fly ball to center field that dropped to score Cwikla and Hanson sent a shot to left to score Jobe. Boll tied the game on a single to bring in Lizakowski.
“The nice thing for us was that we were putting the bat on the ball,” Head Coach Robbe Nessler said. “The last couple games, we’ve been pretty hesitant at the plate. A point of emphasis at practice yesterday was to be more aggressive at the plate.”
The Pirates had an opportunity to take the lead with the bases loaded, but a ground out ended the threat.
East Polk led off the second with a single. Hanson managed to retire the next two batters before a walk put runners on the corners, but a double steal scored the go-ahead run for a 9-8 lead. Hanson limited the damage with a strikeout to end the inning.
East Polk added five runs in the third and two more in the fourth to increase their lead to 16-8.
The Pirates scored another two-out run in the fourth when Jobe brought home freshman catcher Amber Cymbaluk with a single to make the score 16-9.
“For whatever reason, we could not get it going after the first,” Nessler said. “The hits were few and far between and we weren’t feeling it like we were in the first inning. We just got to keep getting live pitching and getting girls in-game experiences in practice.”
East Polk tacked on six more the following inning and led 22-9. The Pirates were unable to get within nine runs forcing the mercy rule and giving East Polk the win.
“I think the biggest thing we’ve got to do is understand situations,” Nessler said. “I’m always trying to get the girls to think at least one play ahead. All we can do is have teachable moments in games and get to a point this year where we stop having these big innings.”
Crookston will seek their first win on Thursday, April 26 when they travel to Bagley. Start time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.