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Rugby 13U girls put fast pitch skills to the test
July 25, 2020

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The Rugby 13U girls' softball team faced Drake-Anamoose last Tuesday, July 14, for another test of its fast pitch skills at the Rugby Recreation softball complex.

After the contest ended in an 8-11 defeat, Coach Miriah Yoder said the girls hoped to wrap up their season next week with confidence and flexibility.

"Every time they play, they've been improving," Yoder said.

Pitching skills made the difference for both teams, as Taylor Mack of Drake-Anamoose and Brooklyn Bartsch of Rugby worked on finding the strike zone.

Bartsch made good use of her glove in the first inning to catch a hit by Drake-Anamoose batter Halie Fletschock.

Taylor Mack of Drake-Anamoose batted in the first run for her team, and walks loaded the bases. Another walk brought another Drake-Anamoose score, followed by two home plate steals and an RBI by Mariah Mack.

The inning ended with a four point Drake-Anamoose lead.

Brooke Kleespie walked to first base to lead off Rugby's time at bat. She advanced to third on two wild pitches. Livvy Johnson walked next, and with Bartsch at bat, Kleespie crossed home plate on another wild pitch. Another wild pitch hit Bartsch for a walk, and batter Reese Gullickson took advantage of another error to get on base.

With runners on first and third base, Maci Brandt took her turn at the plate before stepping aside for Bartsch, who slid home on another wild pitch.

Rugby ended the inning trailing Drake-Anamoose 3-4.

Two more runs went to Drake-Anamoose in the second inning, resulting from a Riley Hauff triple.

A wild pitch hit Drake-Anamoose's Ava Wagner, and more walks loaded the bases.

Rugby went into the bottom of the second inning with an 8-3 Drake-Anamoose lead.

Kleespie walked to first again when her turn at bat came, and she advanced to home plate on pitching errors.

More pitches fell short of their marks, and soon the bases were loaded for Rugby. Johnson crossed home plate on a walk.

Bartsch attempted another home plate steal, but this time, catcher Riley Hauff tagged her out.

Rugby's Tailyr Bush took a turn at pitching at the top of the third inning.

Bush struck out the first three batters in the Drake-Anamoose lineup. The 8-5 Drake-Anamoose lead held.

Rugby saw their first three at bat put down as well, and the fourth and final inning began.

Taylor Mack landed on first base with a hit to deep center field, then a triple by Fletschock brought her home for another Drake-Anamoose run. Fletschock slid across home plate herself on a wild pitch. A Wagner base hit put Drake-Anamoose in scoring position when she reached third base on errors.

Drake-Anamoose took the field with an 11-5 lead. Rugby worked to narrow the score gap with steals and two runs batted in by Addison Dosch. The game ended with an 8-11 loss.

"We have won a couple of games, and the ones we've lost have been pretty close, just by a couple of plays here and there," Yoder said of Rugby's record.

"We hadn't played in a fast pitch game for at least a week before this," she noted. "They've either done slow pitch or had days off. So, coming back and transitioning from slow pitch to fast pitch the next day, it's awesome they're able to do that and they deserve to be recognized for that."

Yoder added, "We play Harvey and Anamoose next week, and those are our last games of the season. Wednesday, we are at Anamoose, and then Thursday, we're home for our last game."

"The biggest thing is to just keep improving and have the love of the game and grow," Yoder said.

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