Crookston falls to 0-6 on the year.
CROOKSTON - Half of Thief River Falls’ 14 runs came in one inning, and the Prowlers shut out the Pirates (0-6, 0-5 Section 8AA) on a mercy-rule victory with the help of a one-hit pitching performance by Haylie Rogalla (So.).
Rogalla allowed her first and only hit to the second batter of the game, Kenze Epema (So. 2B). The sophomore went on to retire the next 14 Crookston hitters for the complete game shutout on seven strikeouts and no walks.
“We just can’t replicate that velocity,” Pirates Head Coach Robbe Nessler said on his team's struggles against Rogalla. “You can only take so many reps off a pitching machine before it turns into something unrealistic. [Rogalla] had velocity, and then she mixed it up with that changeup."
The Prowlers (7-2) struck for runs often, but their most damaging inning occurred in the top half of the fourth. Already ahead 4-0, the first two hitters reached on singles setting the stage for a two-run double by Hannah Magnusson (Sr. 1B) to extend the lead to 6-0.
Gabriella Steele (So. C) followed with an RBI hit, two wild pitches scored a pair, Khloe Lund (Jr. 3B) smacked a run-scoring knock to center and Abigail Molstad (So. CF) capped off the seven-run inning with Thief River Falls’ eighth hit of the frame as the Prowlers led 11-0.
Aside from the fourth inning, Pirates’ starter Jenna Coauette (Fr. P) showed promise in the circle going five innings. Coauette allowed 14 runs, but only 10 were earned as the Pirate defense committed five errors, three coming in the last inning. Coauette also struck out one batter on the day.
The Pirates saw five lapses on defense, but also made important plays to prevent any further runs from scoring. In the top of the first, the Prowlers loaded the bases with no outs, and Crookston set down the next three batters on an RBI groundout to Brylee Lessard (Jr. 1B), a hard hit sacrifice fly to Ashlyn Genereux (Jr. LF) and a flyout to Jasmin Hanson (So. CF).
“Jenna was kind of down on herself [after the first], and I said there is no reason to be upset,” Nessler said. “Because we had a situation where we could’ve given up a ton of runs, and we only gave up two. That’s something we should be proud of.”
An inning later, four straight Prowlers reached base to start the frame, and the Pirates, once again, recorded three straight outs: two fly outs and a foul out.
The defensive highlight of the game for Crookston came in the third when Coauette made a sliding catch between the circle and home, turned and fired to second to nab Eme Gunderson (Sr. RF) trying to tag up to complete the double play. The Pirates went on to hold Thief River Falls scoreless in the inning.
Nessler spoke on what he thought led to the decrease in defensive efficiency as the game went into later innings.
“It may be that the girls started to feel like they were losing the chance to stay in the game, so they maybe lost focus,” Nessler said. “I had a couple positional changes where girls went into spots they don’t play a ton. But even so, we had a couple of dropped balls by girls who started the game at their spots. We started strong, but we had some drops and plays that we should have had.”
Crookston continues their busy schedule with another game on Friday, May 3 on the road against Norman County East. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
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