Buffalo wins first battle with Bluejackets
C-I Fastpitch starts season 2-1
The Mississippi 8 fastpitch season opened April 10 with a key battle between Cambridge-Isanti and Buffalo– the two squads which tied for the conference title last spring. The Bison got in the first salvo for the 2012 race with a 9-5 victory at home on the chilly day.
The Bluejackets led 1-0 in the top of the second when Kendall Sandberg walked and scored on Leah Ponting’s base hit. Buffalo answered right back on Emily Varner’s parked homer off Kate Hammero, however.
Katie McCann walked and Amanda Hanson drilled an RBI single to push C-I ahead again, but the Bison took advantage of two misjudged flies in the outfield to score four runs in the bottom of the third. They broke it open with four earned runs off reliever Ronni Risch to build a 9-2 edge after the fourth. C-I got one run back in the fifth and two in the seventh, including a McCann RBI single, but the Bison finally quelled the rally.
“We were disciplined at the plate and had people on base, but we just couldn’t get the next big hit,” described C-I Coach Dave Hanson, whose team drew eight walks off Buffalo’s returning ace. The Bluejackets will host Buffalo May 3 in the rematch.
C-I 9, North Branch 3
On April 9, the Bluejackets downed section-mate North Branch at home when Jessica Golden limited the Vikings to earned 2 runs over her seven innings, allowing just 1 walk while striking out 2. Sandberg went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI, and 2 hits each were ripped by McCann, Bowker (RBI) and Hanson (2 RBI).
• The C-I girls opened the season with more like an exhibition game against Minneapolis Edison April 5. McCann led off with an inside-the-park homer, Bowker and Ponting followed with doubles and Hanson added a round-tripper to right when the Jackets led 10-0 after the first inning. Hammero threw shutout ball for 3 innings and also supplied an RBI single in the second. The Tommies made several fielding miscues to help C-I win easily.