PREP SOFTBALL: Sacred Heart downs visiting Northern Freeze 9-7
Losing a lead isn’t something Mike Marek enjoyed seeing. The East Grand Forks Sacred Heart High School softball coach did like how his team responded to the situation.
The Eagles, after seeing a 5-1 lead evaporate into a 7-5 deficit, scored four times in the sixth inning Tuesday to beat the visiting Northern Freeze 9-7.
“We don’t find ourselves in that situation very often,’’ said Marek, whose team improved to 3-1. “I like the way we came charging back. We did that a few times last year, too. It’s a nice quality. We could easily have folded the tent after a couple of bad innings.’’
Northern Freeze pulled within 5-4 with three runs in the fifth inning. Carly Safranski drove in one of the runs with a single, which was the 150th career hit for the senior. In the top of the sixth, Emily Hestekind’s run-scoring triple and another RBI single by Safranski highlighted another three-run inning that gave the Freeze a 7-5 lead.
“Being down that many against (Eagles pitcher Hannah) Reimer, that’s a big uphill battle,’’ Freeze coach Jake Foslien said. “And she was on. The good take for us is that we competed against good pitching.
“We both capitalized on opportunities. We just gave them too many of those opportunities at the end.’’
In the bottom of the sixth, Erin Hylden lined a single down the left-field line leading off. Marina O’Leary walked and KateLynn Kowalski popped a single to center field on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases with nobody out.
Sacred Heart didn’t hit the ball out of the infield the rest of the inning, but scored four runs on a fielder’s choice and error, a bases-loaded walk, a ground out and a wild pitch.
“KateLynn’s hit was the key to the inning,’’ Marek said. “She got the ball in play and got on. It’s a whole different situation with bases load, nobody out instead of one out and runners on first and second. Her hit put the pressure on them.’’
Reimer pitched out of a two-on, one-out situation in the seventh for the win. She struck out 13 while allowing eight hits.
“I thought we were on cruise control early,’’ Marek said. “Hannah was looking tough, really firing the first four innings. But I thought she might have gotten tired, and they forced us into a lot of mistakes.’’
Safranski’s two hits paced the Freeze offense. Michele Remer drove in three runs and Reimer two to lead the Eagles.