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New Life Softball: Eagles fare well against higher-class competition

Eagles head coach Mick Ramey makes a point to have his squad face tough competition — often against bigger schools — in the nonconference slate to help prepare his team for the postseason.

“It really sharpens our metal,” he said.

The Eagles played three higher-class opponents April 18 in Zumbrota, going 2-1 on the day.

New Life lost its opener to the host school Zumbrota-Mazeppa — a Class 2A school — in five innings, 14-0.

Ramey didn’t know if his squad had ever made as many errors as it did in that game, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa hit three home runs to quickly expand the lead.

But the Eagles bounced back to best Simley — a Class 3A school — 14-2 in five innings as New Life pounded out double-digit hits. Some of New Life’s younger players stepped up in the victory, as sophomore Maya Binsfeld went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and freshman Nadia Nelson hit her first career home run.

The Eagles capped their day with an 8-6 win over St. Anthony — another Class 2A school. Malorie Giere went 4-for-4 with four RBIs and a homerun and Binsfeld also collected four hits and knocked in two runs.

Valorie Hohol threw all 17 innings for New Life on the day and collected two victories.

“Sometimes it’s really tough for Val to go for that many straight games on a Saturday,” Ramey said.

Hohol did get some relief April 16, as eighth-grader Emmy Erickson came on to relieve Hohol in the fourth inning. Erickson threw the final two innings in the Eagles’ five-inning 14-0 win over Trinity and completed the combined no-hitter between she and Hohol.

Erickson also had success at the dish, going 2-for-2 with two RBI.

She’s the likely No. 1 starter for the Eagles on the mound next season after Hohol departs due to graduation.

“She’s working on her control,” Ramey said. “She’s got a really nice fastball, the changeup is coming and a small curve that’s really not there yet, but she’s really working hard on that in the offseason, too.”

The Eagles started their busy week with a 9-4 win over Southwest Christian April 14.

Giere led the way at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs. throughout the five game week, Giere was retired just once, as she continues to swing the stick with stifling success.

“She is driving every ball she sees,” Ramey said.

Through eight games, Ramey said he’s seen more development than he thought he would to this point in the season.

“We’ve really seen some nice improvements from the girls,” he said.