SOUTH HEART - Battling Beulah and blustery conditions on Saturday, April 28, the Heart River girls softball team moved to 6-0 early in its 2018 campaign.
The Cougars scored 12 runs in the bottom of the second inning, en route to a 19-5 win over the Miners in five innings from Adamski Park.
"It was pretty good to see them deal with these 25-mile per hour winds. We've played in worse weather," Heart River assistant coach Greta Klinnert said. "This wasn't new to us, but they played just as well as do they do in calmer weather."
Klinnert and assistant Lynette Silbernagel managed the team in place of head coach Kendra Schillo, who was coaching the Heart River speech team at the state competition.
After a scoreless first inning, the Miners struck first in the top half of the second.
Beulah senior left-fielder Emily Ripplinger struckout to begin the inning, but reached base and advanced to second after a throwing error from sophomore catcher Mattea Binstock. Following a pair of wild pitches from Cougars sophomore starting pitcher Abby Kessel, Ripplinger crossed home plate for the game's opening run.
Miners senior center-fielder Kennedy Zuroff reached on another Heart River error, but was stranded at third base as Kessel struckout sophomore right-fielder Camille Klindworth and opposing junior pitcher Trinity Doe to end the inning. Four of Kessel's nine strikeouts came in the second.
Cougars eighth-grader infielder Quiahana Otero walked and senior shortstop Alexis Urias singled to open the bottom half of the frame. Doe nearly pitched out of trouble after she struckout the next two batters, but freshman infielder Caylee Wilke connected with a two-out, two-run opposite field triple.
Freshman outfielder Jersey Filkowski drove in Wilke with double. Despite being down 1-2 in the count, Filkowski's ability to protect and expand the strike zone resulted in the run driven in.
"I usually swing at the higher pitches. They probably would be called a ball, but I usually look to hit them," Filkowski said. "It's seems like they always come on my [potential] third strike, but I'm always going for anything just because if I get the last strike, I'm going to be out. I don't want that so I swing at anything close.
"It helps the team and they are really supportive. I can hear them cheering and it's great to have that support."
Filkowski earned her second hit of the inning with an RBI triple as Heart River sent 16 batters to the plate in the second, scoring all 12 runs with two outs.
Beulah struggled with the conditions as four of the 12 runs came as a result of passed balls and wild pitches. They commited three errors in four defensive innings played.
"I think it's a mental game for these ladies," Miners head coach Michelle Brouwer said. "Add the weather elements on top of that, and they can compete, but I think it got the better of them today."
Heart River showed a mixture of patience and aggression at the dish, combining for 11 hits and nine walks while all nine batters in the lineup reached base safely at least once during the afternoon.
"Our game plan is to go into each inning aggressive," Klinnert said. "The first inning we didn't score, but the girls got their timing down and got comfortable. I told them 'let's just go have some fun'....They had a really good rally."
Heart River 19, Beulah 5 (F/5)
B 000 00 - 5 6 3
HR 0123 4x - 19 11 4
B: Trinity Doe (4) and Phoebe Garman. HR: Kessel (5) and Mattea Binstock.
W-Kessel. L-Doe. HR-None.
Highlights: B: Taylor Christianson 2-3, RBI, R, S; Kayleen Alexander 2-3, R. HR: Caylee Wilke 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB; Jersey Filkowski 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 R; Kessel 5 IP, 6 H, 9 K.