Woodbury softball: Royals outduled by rival ParkRival softball teams from Park and Woodbury renewed their longstanding tradition on Saturday at Park High School’s Charlie Whitbred Field.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Rival softball teams from Park and Woodbury renewed their longstanding tradition on Saturday at Park High School’s Charlie Whitbred Field.
In what turned out to be a pitcher’s duel, Park edged the Royals 2-1 for its third win of the spring.
This year, the District 833 and Suburban East Conference rivals are trying to replace their aces in the pitching circle. Park lost two-year starting pitcher Cassie MacArthur to graduation. MacArthur was an All-Conference and All-Section pitcher for the Wolfpack. Woodbury is replacing 2011 graduate Abbie Morris, who was a two-year starter for the Royals and also provided a big bat in the middle of the Royals lineup.
On Saturday, however, Park sophomore Amber Galloway and Woodbury junior Brooke Pantila looked up to the task.
Galloway only gave up one unearned run, didn’t walk a batter and struck out four for the win, while Pantila had a shutout going into the fifth inning and ended up allowing six hits and two runs in the loss.
With Park (3-4; 2-3 SEC) down 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, sophomore infielder Sam Flack came through with the big hit in the game, crushing a two-run double with two outs to give Park a 2-1 lead. In the inning, Mikayla Thiefoldt worked a leadoff walk from Pantila, advanced to second base on Rachel Suter’s sacrifice bunt. Then, after Gwen Warling’s line-drive base hit, Flack delivered the decisive blow to left field to score both Thiefoldt and Warling.
In the top of the sixth inning, Woodbury (1-3; 1-3 SEC) got a runner to third base with two outs, but Galloway forced a ground ball for the third out – then shut down the Royals 1-2-3 in the seventh to secure the victory.
“Our defense came to play today and if we are going to contend the rest of the way, our defense will have to show up on a daily basis,” said Loshek, who is a former assistant softball coach at Woodbury before taking the reins of Park.
Park and Woodbury have a long history. The two District 833 squads shared the Suburban East Conference championship title in 2007. Park had only seven losses that year, but two were to the Royals – which went on to reach the Class AAA state tournament compiling a 20-6 record. The following year, 2008, Park won the SEC title outright with a 14-2 record – but again fell to Woodbury twice. However, Park now holds a 5-1 advantage over the Royals since then, including a pair of lopsided victories last season 10-0 and 11-1.
Before beating Woodbury, Park had stumbled out of the gates a bit, starting the year 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the conference. The Wolfpack opened the season by splitting a double-header against Le Sueur-Henderson then opened conference play falling 11-3 to Mounds View in its home opener. Park then beat up Roseville 12-4 on Monday, but then was crushed by Stillwater 9-1 last Wednesday, followed by an 8-2 loss to White Bear Lake on Thursday.
Before falling to Park, Woodbury had played three games this season – varying results. The Royals opened the year with an 11-1 loss to Forest Lake in its home opener, but rebounded to beat defending Class AAA state champion Hastings 4-1 on Wednesday, behind a gem by Pantila. However, the following day Woodbury was defeated 13-6 by Mounds View.
In the win over Hastings, Pantila earned her first varsity win, allowing five hits and six walks. Freshman Kat Swedenborg had two hits to lead the Royals’ offense.
In the loss to Forest Lake, the Rangers had 12 hits and 11 walks. Against Mounds View, Josie Ryan and Nicole Scarrella each had two hits and Pantila had a homerun for the Royals. Senior pitcher Ali Jacobson took the losses in both defeats.
Woodbury took on Roseville on Tuesday, after the Bulletin went to press. Next, the Royals travel to Stillwater on Wednesday, before hosting White Bear Lake on Thursday at Ojibway Park.