Though his team lost to Forest Lake by one run on May 3, Park of Cottage Grove coach Bob Loshek was confident in the Wolfpack's ability to bounce back in the rematch on Tuesday.
“We needed to finish what we did the last time out,” Loshek said. “We left 11 on base and were battling every inning and putting runners on base.”
After falling to Forest Lake by one run on May 2, Park of Cottage Grove got its revenge on Tuesday and gave the Rangers their first loss of the season with a 7-4 home victory.
With the win, the Wolfpack climb into a tie with the Rangers atop the Suburban East Conference standings. Each team has one league game remaining on its schedule.
Park, which is ranked No. 4 in the most recent Class 4A coaches’ poll, trailed 2-0 after Forest Lake junior third baseman Claire Bakkestuen hit a two-run home run the top of the first inning.
But the Wolfpack quickly rallied in the bottom of the inning thanks to a pair of Rangers' fielding errors, which put runners in scoring position prior to senior catcher Saren Croker's at-bat. She didn't waste the opportunity, knocking out a single that scored both baserunners and tied the game at 2.
Park added three more runs in the second inning, capped by senior first baseman Heather Degler's two-run homer that gave Park of Cottage Grove (17-1, 14-1) a 5-2 lead.
From there, the Wolfpack held on as the Rangers attempted a comeback. Forest Lake scored two runs in the top of the fifth, but Park answered with a run in the bottom of the inning and added another in the sixth.
Park junior Bryanna Olson got the win after allowing four runs (all earned) and striking out nine in pitching 4 1/3 innings. Samantha Fohrman pitched the rest of the game in relief.
Senior pitcher Megan Baniecke took the loss for No. 3-4A Rangers (17-1, 14-1). She gave up five runs (two earned) on six hits and struck out one in pitching just three innings. Bakkestuen finished the game in relief.
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