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New Life Academy softball: Eagles score big in conference play

The New Life Academy softball team finally got to start Minnesota Christian Athletic Association play last week and took out their frustration with the continuing inclimate weather this spring by pounding out lopsided victories over PACT (28-1) and Bethany Academy (19-1).

Against PACT, sophomore Theresa Baranick led the Eagles with 6 RBI and senior Amanda Pastirik followed close behind with 5 RBI of her own, including a 3-run homerun in the fifth inning. Another big day was had by newcomer Hannah Nelson, an eighth grader who got her first varsity hit of her young career - that being a homer of her own in the fifth inning .

"It was fun to see the whole team find their strokes at the plate and gain some confidence." NLA head coach Mick Ramey said. "We will need everyone hitting this year to make a run for the state tournament again, and a number of girls were able to get it going at the plate this week. We love seeing everyone contribute to the success of the team, and that makes it a lot of fun to coach. Hitting is contagious and a number of our girls are growing in their confidence at the plate game-by-game."

Sophomore Valerie Hohol and Pastirik split the pitching duties for the game and pitched a combined two-hitter. It was Pastirik's first varsity pitching outing and she ended the game with allowing only two hits, with six strikeouts. The Eagles started the game with an 11-run first inning and never looked back - as Hohol and Pastirik shut down the opposing hitters all game long.

On Thursday the Eagles moved a home game to Bloomington where the snow wasn't going to be a factor and left with a quick victory over Bethany Academy to get out of the cold in a hurry. Hohol pitched a very efficient 1-hitter with Heidmann, junior Chloe Westlund and Sophomore Malorie Giere leading the offense with multiple RBI games each. Once again, the Eagles scored early and often and had contributions from the entire lineup.

"Our goal for last week was just to try and get some conference games in when we could and leave with victories and without injuries in the cold" Ramey said. "We did that, and now hope that we can get some more seasonal weather and get as many games in as we can before sectionals start. Next week we'll have eight games in nine days and face some strong teams along the way, especially Lester Prairie and Benilde-St. Margaret's. After that stretch, we'll know a lot more about what we have this year. So far, we seem to be hitting the ball better up and down the lineup than last season, let's hope that's a sign of things to come."