Greater Grand Forks High School Notebook: Eagles offense is soaring
The East Grand Forks Sacred Heart offense is on a roll. The Eagles have won five of their first six fastpitch softball games. They've scored more than 10 runs in four of the wins. They've twice hit the 20-run mark and twice have scored 10 runs in...
The East Grand Forks Sacred Heart offense is on a roll.
The Eagles have won five of their first six fastpitch softball games. They've scored more than 10 runs in four of the wins. They've twice hit the 20-run mark and twice have scored 10 runs in an inning.
"We've had a good start," Sacred Heart coach Mike Marek said. "I can't think of any better starts offensively that we've ever had.
"We're hitting the ball well. And our aggressive baserunning is putting defenses in difficult situations. It isn't just stealing bases. When the ball is put into play, the girls are aggressive and making good decisions."
The hits are coming from a lot of spots in the lineup.
Leadoff hitter Tia Klein is batting .542. Lindsey Marek, who has spent most of the time in the lower part of the order, paces the offense with a .619 average. Other top hitters are Jessica Vanyo (.500), Tracy Roach (.417) and Sam McDonald (.368).
"We're a pretty veteran team," Mike Marek said. "That's part of the reason we're hitting so well. The girls understand the philosophy of hitting, what to look for in different situations. And we've had good pitching, so our kids have been batting against good pitchers every day in practice. That's paying off.
"We still have the toughest part of our schedule ahead. But it is exciting, the way the offense has been so productive and taken games over."
Steen starts strong
Taylor Steen has been nearly unhittable for Grand Forks Red River's baseball team.
The junior pitcher is 2-0. In his two starts, the right-hander pitched a no-hitter against Grand Forks Central, striking out 12, and a two-hitter against Wahpeton. The only run he's allowed in his two complete-game performances was an unearned one against Wahpeton.
"Taylor's a year older, a year smarter," Red River coach Mark Varriano said. "He really competes out there. That's the big thing with him. He doesn't care who is batting, his attitude is, 'I'm going to beat you, you're not going to beat me.'
"He's not a power pitcher. He spots the ball well and isn't afraid to pitch to contact. And he's got a high baseball IQ. He's a good catcher, too, so he knows how to set up hitters."
Big start for Larson
Blake Larson had a memorable varsity baseball debut.
In East Grand Forks Senior High's season-opening doubleheader at Roseau last week, Larson wasn't in the lineup in the opening game. In the second game, batting eighth in the Green Wave lineup, Larson hit home runs in his first two varsity at-bats.
The right-handed hitter went opposite field on his first plate appearance, homering down the right-field line. His second time up, Larson pulled a home run down the left-field line.
"On the first one, I'm thinking, 'Good for Blake,' " said Senior High coach Garret Hjelle, who listened to the rescheduled games on the radio because he wasn't able to get off work. "After the second one, it was, 'Wow.' We knew Blake could hit, but we were pleasantly surprised by that power.
"You don't see what he did very often. I think he caught everybody off guard. But I don't think it was a fluke. He's been hitting the ball hard."
In the Wave's first four games, Larson is 5-of-9 (.555). He also has a double, so three of his first five hits have been for extra bases.
Grand Forks Central senior Courtney Hammer has signed a letter of intent to play women's basketball at Jamestown College.