High school softball: Brookings Bobcats head into postseason with momentum
BROOKINGS — The Brookings softball team finished its regular season this weekend as the Bobcats swept a pair of games and extended their win streak to four. Brookings beat Sturgis Brown, 14-1 in five innings on Friday, and Rapid City Stevens, 7-1 on Saturday.
With the wins the Bobcats improved to 13-3 on the season and earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming SoDak 16. Brookings will have a rematch with Sturgis Brown (1-14) on Tuesday in Brookings. At the beginning of this past week Brookings picked up a 7-6 victory over Harrisburg, who is 16-3 and the No. 2 seed. Brookings head coach Emma Hardin said she thinks the Bobcats are playing their best softball of the season as they head into the postseason.
“I’ve told the girls since the beginning of the season, we should be playing our best softball at the end of the season and I think this last week showed that,” Hardin said. “The win against Harrisburg was really fun and we brought a lot of energy and got the bats going. … I was proud of our girls and we found out some things we need to work on in that game, just closing out that seventh inning and finishing it. … I think [this weekend] gives us a lot of confidence going into the postseason, especially after the two wins this weekend and sitting in the three seed.”
Brookings will be heavily favored in the matchup with the Scoopers on Tuesday as Sturgis Brown’s only win on the came against 1-17 Sioux Falls Roosevelt. Hardin said that when it comes to the postseason, records don’t matter and Brookings will have to come ready to play.
“It will be important for us to take it one pitch, one at-bat and one inning at a time, and then finishing it all the way through the seventh inning. … It’s the postseason. Anything can happen, so we have to take it one pitch, one at-bat at a time. All gas, no brakes. That’s what I’ve been telling the girls. We need to continue to string hits together. Our pitchers need to be on their game and our defense does too,” Hardin said.
The winner of Tuesday’s game between Brookings and Sturgis Brown will play in the Class AA State Tournament, which will be in Aberdeen June 3-5.
• Brookings 14, Sturgis Brown 1 (5 inn.)
Nine first inning runs got the Bobcats going in the first game of the weekend and they were able to put Sturgis Brown away in five innings.
Kymber Buys got the scoring going with a two-run home run in the second at-bat for the Bobcats. Gracie Adamson then hit an RBI single and Sydney Bebensee scored on an error to make it 4-0. Ava Sandine would then hit an RBI single and Morgan Norgaard followed with a three-run home run to make it 8-0. Buys would then put another ball over the fence in the next at-bat and that was the final run of the inning.
Brookings then added four more runs in the bottom of the second. The first two runs came on a two-run single from Kylie Moe. She then scored on an error and Madison Pantzke scored on a passed ball to make it 13-0.
Sturgis’ lone run of the game came in the top of the fourth, but the Bobcats got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Kami Erickson scored on an error.
Buys went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and Norgaard went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Adamson went 1-for-1 with an RBI and Moe went 1-for-2 with an RBI. Ava Sandine went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Tess Burns pitched the first inning for Brookings and did not give up a hit and had two strikeouts. Moe then pitched three innings and gave up one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Kami Erickson pitched the final inning and did not give up a hit and had one strikeout.
• Brookings 7, Rapid City Stevens 1
The Bobcats jumped out to an early lead again on Saturday as they led 4-0 in the first inning and didn’t look back.
“I think we really got the bats going, especially early in the games [this weekend],” Hardin said. “Our pitchers also really dominated this weekend.”
Norgaard led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and then scored on an error. Adamson and Burns then hit back-to-back home runs to give the Bobcats a four-run advantage.
Brookings scored one run in the second inning on an RBI single from Adamson. RC Stevens scored its first run of the game on a solo home run in the fourth inning. The Bobcats then increased the lead to 7-1 after Norgaard hit an RBI double and scored on a ground out in the sixth inning.
Adamson pitched a complete game and the home run was the only hit of the game for RC Stevens. She had nine strikeouts and one walk.
Adamson was 2-for-4 with four RBIs at the plate. Norgaard was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Burns went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Brookings honored six seniors after the game for senior day as Tess Pantzke, Ava Sandine, Morgan Linstad, Maya Erickson, Madison Pantzke and Adamson played their final regular season games. They are the first class to graduate as sanctioned softball players and Hardin said they did a great job of setting an example in the first season of sanctioned softball.
“We have a strong senior class and we’re definitely going to miss them next year. We’ve talked a lot about that they’re the first [sanctioned seniors] and they’re setting the bar for Bobcat softball and are the ones that will pave the way for the underclassmen. I think they were definitely a good group to have as our first senior class because they were hard working and wanted to get better every day,” Hardin said.