Aggies softball falls to Heart River, defeats Harvey/Wells County
VELVA – Even the Aggies’ heavy hitters couldn’t outweigh the team’s mistakes.
Despite providing the excitement with a pair of home runs, the Velva-Drake/Anamoose softball team still watched a winnable game slipped away on Monday at home against Heart River. The Aggies gifted the Cougars with a number of errors, and the road team capitalized to claim an 8-4 win.
“There were some good things and some terrible things,” Velva head coach Fred Mueller said. “Our hitting came through, and we had a couple of home runs. I was satisfied with that, but our defense really let us down today.”
The first miscue by Velva came in the top of the second inning, as a routine fly ball to the infield somehow dropped and allowed Heart Rivers’ Jersey Filkowski to reach first base.
The sophomore crossed home plate two at-bats later off an RBI single from Quiahna Otero, and the Cougars doubled their lead shortly afterwards thanks to a wild pitch that allowed another run to come in.
Heart River converted another error into a run in the following inning when McKenzie Buckman attempted to steal third. The senior slid into the base, saw Velva’s Grace Mogen mishandle the catch, quickly got to her feet and ran home to make it a 3-0 contest.
Now trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Velva’s Aubry Mahoney got her team back on track.
The junior connected on a pitch from Heart Rivers’ Abby Kessel, who hadn’t allowed a hit up until that point, and sent it up the middle of the outfield. Filkowski dove over the fence in a desperate attempt to get the out, but the ball drifted a few feet past her outstretched glove for the two-run homer.
“First pitch I swung at I was a little angry, so I swung high and missed,” Mahoney said. “The second one was a strike. Then, on the third pitch, I just swung as hard as I could and hit it over the fence.”
Still trailing 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning, the Aggies committed another costly error.
With runners on second and third base, Heart Rivers’ Mattea Binstock hit a high-soaring shot into the outfield. Velva eighth-grader Olivia Passa ran to get under the pop-up but overshot it, and the ball sailed over her head. Two runners scored to push the lead to 6-2.
But, like a good sister, Emma Passa was there to make things right in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down 8-2, the junior went the distance on a pitch from Kessel for a two-run dinger to give the Aggies one last bit of life.
Kessel quickly put an end to that, though. The junior ace got the final out of the game shortly afterwards to wrap up a complete game inside the circle and secure her team’s 8-4 victory. The junior finished with 11 strikeouts.
“(Kessel) is a really good pitcher,” Mahoney said. “She has really good speed on her. I think if we just sit back a little bit, watch her and take our time to swing, we can really hit her next time.”
But Velva ended the day on a high note.
After Heart River defeated Harvey/Wells County by a score of 13-6 on the same field, the Aggies entered their matchup against the Hornets with plenty of rest and a fresh mindset. Velva tightened up its defense and kept swinging to claim a convincing 24-2 win over the Hornets.
“Our message (after the Heart River loss) was just to forget about it,” Mueller said. “You just have to flush it down the old sink and get out there and play. We just talked about cleaning up the little things that we were doing wrong, getting after it and having fun.”
Next up on the schedule for the Aggies is a road game today against Central McLean at 4:30 p.m. Velva emerged with a 10-1 victory when the two teams last met on April 15.
Justin Martinez covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.