Crookston tallied three hits and four errors in a 15-0 defeat to Sacred Heart.

CROOKSTON - Sacred Heart put together only four hits on the day, yet plated 15 with the help of four Crookston errors, and after a 15-0 mercy rule loss at the hands of the Eagles, the Pirates know their areas in need of improvement.

    Jenna Coauette (Fr. P) started the game for Crookston (0-1) in the circle, and showed promising signs, but also struggled with accuracy. Despite being in for all four innings, Coauette was only charged with nine of the runs. When in command of the zone, Coauette struck out six batters but found trouble locating on occasion walking 12 and hitting three.

    "[Jenna] was a little up and down," Pirates Head Coach Robbe Nessler said. "She's still a young player, and she showed me some good things and had some innings there where she just couldn't find the strike zone. It is what it is."

    The Pirates did not do their young pitcher any favors committing four errors, one of which would have ended the fourth inning with a 13-0 deficit and a guarantee of five innings.

    Nessler attributes the lapses in the field to a combination of mistakes.

    "I think there were a couple of those where they didn't necessarily know what they need to do," Nessler said. "That's on me as a coach, because we work on situations every day, but maybe there were some we haven't worked on. Then there were some where we should've just plain made the play."

    Emma Walters (LF) gave Crookston fits reaching base safely three times and driving in three. In the circle for the Eagles (1-1), Ireland Hanson (P) took care of the Pirates' bats allowing only three hits in four innings of shutout work. Hanson also struck out three, two coming with runners in scoring position.

    Crookston's three hits originated from the bats of Jasmin Hanson (Jr. CF) and Coauette, the three and four hitters in the lineup. Trailing 5-0 in the bottom of the first, Hanson reached on an error, Coauette blooped a double into right field, but the runners advanced no further as Allie Love (Jr. RF) struck out looking to end the threat. Hanson and Coauette were also left on the bases in the third after back-to-back two-out singles.

    "Jasmin last year, I believe, was maybe second on the team in on-base percentage, and Jenna has been ripping it in the cages all year," Nessler said. "We hate to leave people on base, and we hate to throw a zero up on the scoreboard, but at the end of the day, we've got to have people behind them that can advance them on the bases."

    Following a five-run first inning, Coauette limited the damage in the following two innings. In the second frame, the freshman surrendered two after loading the bases with no outs, and let one cross home in the third after a bases loaded and one out situation.

    The Pirates looked to be on the verge of escaping the fourth inning down 9-0 when Sacred Heart carried a two-out rally through nine straight batters and tacked on six more runs. Crookston committed three of their errors during the stretch, and only two Eagles reached via a base hit. 

    In need of at least one run to extend the game another inning, the Pirates went down in order, and Sacred Heart celebrated their first win of 2019.

    "A couple of our girls need to be a little less aggressive, and a couple girls need to be a little more aggressive at the plate," Nessler said. "We've got to find a happy medium. A couple of us are swinging at tough pitches, and some of us are sitting on really good pitches."

    Crookston next plays on Thursday, April 18 at East Grand Forks with a scheduled start time of 4:30 p.m.

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For feedback or questions, contact the Times at (218) 281-2730, Nolan Beilstein at (940) 372-8175 or by email at nbeilstein@crookstontimes.com.