Gallery: Nashua-Plainfield slips past Northwood-Kensett

Published 11:24 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

Shelby Low of Northwood-Kensett throws a pitch Monday at home against Nashua-Plainfield. The Vikings fell 3-1. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Shelby Low of Northwood-Kensett throws a pitch Monday at home against Nashua-Plainfield. The Vikings fell 3-1. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

By Jacob Tellers

NORTHWOOD — After entering the seventh inning tied 1-1, the Northwood-Kensett softball team lost a close game to Nashua-Plainfield.

The low-scoring game featured solid defense and fielding by both teams, but aggressive base-running by the Huskies in the final inning Monday gave the visitors a 3-1 victory.

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Despite scoring only one run, the Vikings had several scoring opportunities early in the game.

Northwood-Kensett had a chance to score with two outs in the third and runners on second and third, but a strikeout ended the inning.

In the fourth, starting pitcher Shelby Low hit a ball deep to center field for a triple, narrowly missing out on her first home run of the season.

Defensively, the Vikings held their own through six innings. Low retired five batters through five innings, and gave up five hits and one run. However, she wasn’t able to finish the game.

During a meeting in the pitching circle after Low gave up a run in fifth inning, Northwood-Kensett coach Daryl Love noticed that her arm was sore, but he agreed to let her finish the inning.

Low struck out the next batter, and a quick ground-out to first base ended the fifth.

“She was already out there rubbing her arm,” Love said. “It was really sore. She wasn’t happy with me that I pulled her, but it’s still just a game. I’ve got to worry about the kids and things down the road.”

With the Vikings scheduled to play six straight games Monday through a tournament on Saturday, Love was concerned about wearing out his ace pitcher.

Low was replaced in the sixth inning by eighth-grader Dusti Bratrud, who played a clean inning, striking out the first batter she faced.

The Vikings got on the scoreboard with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth with only one out.

A grounder by senior catcher Kayla Branstad allowed Paige Oleson to score the only run of the day for the Vikings. However, Northwood-Kensett left three runners stranded.

Nashua-Plainfield responded in the top of the seventh as Husky baserunners stole second and home.

“She’s an eighth grader that’s in there pitching,” Love said about Bratrud. “That’s just going to take practice time.”

Despite going into the bottom of the seventh down 3-1, the Vikings had a chance to rally and send the game into extra innings. Shelby Low — who leads the Vikings in batting percentage — was at the plate with one runner on second and two outs.

After hitting several deep foul balls off to left field, she struck out on a 2-2 pitch.

“Defensively I think we played a very good game. (We) gave ourselves a chance to win. It would have been nice if our pitchers’ arm had held up,” Love said.

Branstad led the Vikings in hitting going 2-for-3 with double and an RBI.

Next, Northwood-Kensett will play North Iowa 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Northwood.

Statistics are in the Scoreboard: June 9 post.

A full story will follow.