Golden Eagles swept by Sioux Falls in home opener

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times

Nearly two years since their most recent home game, the Minnesota Crookston softball team was back at UMC Softball Field.

The Golden Eagles were swept by Sioux Falls, 5-4 in eight innings and 8-1, in a doubleheader Friday afternoon. They fell to 5-13 on the season and 1-3 in NSIC play.

The first game of the afternoon shaped up to be a pitcher's duel at first. UMC's Katie Humhej and USF's Kaitlyn VanDerZwaag got their stuff going early, and both starters struck out eight batters in five innings or less.

The Cougars (9-9, 3-1) got on the board first thanks to Cassie Van Beek's RBI double in the second inning. That remained the only scoring until the fifth inning, when VanDerZwaag singled up the middle to make it 3-0 and chase Humhej.

Kamryn Frisk came in relief of Humhej and allowed an inherited run to score, but kept Sioux Falls off the board in the sixth and seventh by forcing a series of soft ground balls. That allowed the Golden Eagles to rally.

With VanDerZwaag out of the game in the sixth inning, Sarah Velasquez and Dana Zarn both had base hits, and Rachel Jones lined a double to drive both of them home. Shaelyn Grant roped a double along the left-field foul line to bring Jones across the plate, and Grant scored the tying run on a double steal.

Sarah Velasquez rounds third base.

UMC had the go-ahead run in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, but Hanna Cress struck out Darian Pancirov and Jones, respectively, to end the threats.

Frisk remained strong into the eight inning until the Cougars began a two-out rally. Shayla Running doubled deep to left, and Frankie Mickelson followed Running's hit with an RBI single. The Golden Eagles then went down in order in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.

Sioux Falls jumped on UMC early in the second game, scoring five runs in the second inning after VanDerZwaag reached on an error to lead off the frame. The Cougars then used four base hits and took advantage of another error to take the lead for good.

Minnesota Crookston scored in the third inning when Hannah Macias drew a leadoff walk and Velasquez and Zarn's singles brought her across the plate. But that was the only blemish on a strong start by Cress, who went the distance and struck out 15, giving up just five hits.

Humhej pitched nearly 10 innings for the afternoon, including 5.1 innings of relief in the second game. She struck out 13 and gave up nine hits and four earned runs during that time.

Friday's doubleheader was a homecoming for Sioux Falls shortstop Mika Rodriguez, who played for the Golden Eagles from 2018-20. Rodriguez went 1-for-8 with a run scored over both games.

UP NEXT: The Golden Eagles will host Southwest Minnesota State (12-6, 3-1) in a doubleheader Saturday.

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON SIOUX FALLS

Sioux Falls 0-1-0-0-3-0-0-1—5-9-0

Minnesota Crookston 0-0-0-0-0-4-0-0—4-8-2

  • WP: Hanna Cress (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
  • LP: Kamryn Frisk (3.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

MINNESOTA CROOKSTON SIOUX FALLS

Sioux Falls 0-5-0-2-0-1-0—8-9-0

Minnesota Crookston 0-0-1-0-0-0-0—1-5-3

  • WP: Hanna Cress (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 15 K)
  • LP: Kamryn Frisk (1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)

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