Park of Cottage Grove junior Samantha Fohrman delivers a pitch in the first inning against Stillwater. Fohrman struck out 10 in the Wolfpack's 4-2 victory over the Ponies. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
While Wednesday's contest between Park of Cottage Grove and Stillwater may have been a rematch of last year's Class 4A State title game, there were a number of unfamiliar faces in both lineups.
But one familiar face, Wolfpack starting pitcher Sam Fohrman, took center stage in leading Park to a 4-2 road win.
Fohrman allowed just four hits and two runs, only one of which was earned, to help the Wolfpack, ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A coaches’ poll, earn the Suburban East Conference win.
The junior righthander pitched in relief in last year's state title game, but this year she said she is trying to accept a greater leadership role for the Wolfpack (7-1, 4-1).
"I need to be more aware of what my defense is doing," Fohrman said. "I need to be aware of what the batters are doing so I can warn the defense. For example, for one batter I told our third baseman, Emma [Ambroz], that the batter pulls off the ball, so she would pull the ball if I threw inside. I want to make sure the defense is prepared."
Fohrman walked the first batter she faced and had to pitch out of a two-on, one-out jam in that opening inning. Then in the third inning, Stillwater loaded the bases with two outs, then scored two runs on an infield hit and an error.
"I couldn't figure out what was going on with my grip — my hands were super waxy from using a new ball," Fohrman said. "But I settled in enough, and then I figured out I needed to use some chalk to improve my grip."
Fohrman got the final out in the third and did not allow another baserunner, retiring the final 13 batters she faced, including seven via strikeouts.
"(Fohrman) started figuring things out and doing better things with her riseball and curveball," Park coach Bob Loshek said. "She's such a competitor; when she competes, everyone follows suit."
Stillwater's Haley Eder-Zdechlik flips the ball to shortstop Amber Scalia to force out a Park of Cottage Grove baserunner late in the game Wednesday evening. The Ponies fell to the Wolfpack 4-2 in Stillwater. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Park of Cottage Grove got a strong pitching performance from Sam Fohrman as well as timely offense to claim a 4-2 Suburban East Conference victory at Stillwater Wednesday.
Fohrman retired the final 13 batters she faced and finished with 10 strikeouts to lead the Wolfpack, the top-ranked team in Class 4A in the state coaches’ poll, to the win.
The Wolfpack offense was led by senior first baseman Paige Heitkamp, who played a role in all three scoring rallies by Park of Cottage Grove. She doubled and scored as part of a two-run second inning, then had a RBI groundout in the third and a two-out run-scoring single in the fifth.
Fohrman also had two hits for the Wolfpack (7-1, 4-1).
No. 6-4A Stillwater (4-4, 3-4) got both of its runs in the third inning off Fohrman. An infield single by Taylor Gray scored one run, and an error brought home the other run.
Ponies starting pitcher Keira Murphy allowed eight hits and struck out five while walking two.
Park of Cottage Grove's Paige Heitkamp handles the short hop for a put out on a close play at first base against Stillwater. Heitkamp had two RBI for the Wolfpack in their 4-2 victory over the Ponies. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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