Posted 4/19/22

From Page B- plate, saw a pitch she liked, and hit a three-run blast to walk it off. Starting in the circle for that first game was junior Taylor Graf, who held the Wildcats’ offense to four runs …

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From Page B-

plate, saw a pitch she liked, and hit a three-run blast to walk it off.

Starting in the circle for that first game was junior Taylor Graf, who held the Wildcats’ offense to four runs in her performance. Last season, Graf was a critical player on that Cardinals team that went to the state championship game. Johnson spoke about Graf’s importance to the team.

“Taylor Graf threw our first game and she’s our number one,” Johnson said. “I would put her up with anyone in the state. She pitched us to a state championship game last year and she’s only a junior.”

Rcrsmdll20rgri ls2To' rc2 Pi hhs2bv-32ok2f i n r2l. d After a stellar game offensively in the first contest, Prescott wasted no time getting into an offensive rhythm in the latter portion of the doubleheader. For context, the two teams switched home and away roles for the section game of the doubleheader, despite the game being played in Prescott.

In the top of the first inning, Prescott’s bats continued to be effective. After a single by Temmers to shallow center field, a single by Miller and an RBI single by Rohl, Prescott took a 1-0 lead. One batter later, Franco hit a single down the left field line to make it 2-0 in favor of Prescott.

The scoring wasn’t done there. After a passed ball, the runner from third base scored to take a 3-0 lead, and then a sac fly by Magee made it a 4-0 lead for the Cardinals. The River Falls offense continued to struggle as Prescott junior pitcher Madison Hildebrandt pitched from the center circle.

In the top of the third inning, Prescott added six more runs to make it a 10-0 contest. By the time the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, Prescott had a 20-0 lead and had dominated River Falls in every aspect of the game.

Despite trailing my nearly two dozen runs, River Falls continued to battle at the plate and scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning in a 20-3 defeat. The game ended prematurely because of the 10-run rule. With the win, Prescott improved to 3-1 for the season with a 1-0 record in conference play. Coach Johnson spoke about the sweep of River Falls.

“We hit the ball, we can hit from 1-15, we’ve got 15 girls on varsity and top to bottom, we can swing,” Johnson said. “Graf had a great game and Madison did such a good job. She’s our second pitcher. Not too many teams have two pitchers that they can rely on. We’ve got two that we’re very confident in.”

While there were some mistakes defensively, Prescott largely played a clean game and limited errors. However, Johnson said that he thinks his team can get even better defensively as they grow throughout the season.

“We’re not where we feel we need to be right now, but a lot of that is only having three practices outside,” Johnson said. “It’s going to come with time, but we feel we can be very strong defensively.”

While Prescott enjoyed success both in the circle and at the plate this weekend, River Falls struggled in both aspects. After being swept by Prescott in the weekend series, Wildcats’ head coach Chantele Dulas spoke about what she saw from her team.

“I think we hit the ball a lot better than we have this season, that first game was definitely the best offensive game that we’ve had this season,” Dulas said. “It was nice to see us put some runs on the board. In that second game, they battled, stayed alive and didn’t quit, even at the end.”

Although the scoreboard was harsh to River Falls, it likely didn’t represent how well the pitchers played. The Wildcat fielders committed a large number of errors throughout both games which reflected poorly on the pitchers and the scoreboard.

“The errors killed us,” Dulas said. “It’s been hard because we haven’t been outside a ton. It’s hard to work on team defense in the gym. We’ve only had two outdoor practices so far this season.”

While the opening games of the 2022 season haven’t been kind to River Falls, Dulas said that junior pitcher Ali Laube has been working hard and is developing as the team’s best pitcher this season.

“I think Ali Laube, our number one pitcher, has been working really hard,” Dulas said. “Our catcher Jordan Torrez has worked really well with (Laube) and they’ve played a lot this year. Laube has been grinding and has had to pitch a lot of innings. The workload is on (Laube) and she has handled it well.”

River Falls has played without question one of the hardest schedules in Wisconsin this season. The Wildcats have played Baldwin-Woodville, a team that went to the state title game last year, Hudson, a team that went to a sectional final last year, and Prescott, a team that went to the state title game last year.

“We’ve had a really tough start to our season,” Dulas said. “I think we’ve been bouncing back and handling it really well. We’re keeping positive attitudes and not giving up, but we’ve played tough teams. I’m excited to play some teams we can compete with here.”

Two of those great teams that Dulas mentioned reside in the Middle Border Conference in Prescott and Baldwin- Woodville. At the end of the doubleheader, coach Johnson finished his comments by speaking about this year’s Middle Border race.

“Some of the Middle Border teams are very strong this year,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be a fun race. Everyone keeps talking about how everyone is chasing Baldwin (Woodville), and that’s respect to them with what they’ve done in the last couple of years, but we’re excited for that challenge. We’re excited to go compete against them.”