Wolves dominate in softball opener

Rachel Airhart is called safe at third base after advancing from first off a double by teammate Kristina Loegering.
Rachel Airhart is called safe at third base after advancing from first off a double by teammate Kristina Loegering.

Milaca junior center fielder Kristina Loegering batted in five runs to lead the Wolves to a 10-0 season-opening victory over Pine City on Friday, April 11, at Sod Park.
Junior shortstop Alex Ploeger led the Wolves attack with four runs after going 3-for-3 at the plate with one RBI. Junior second baseman Rachel Airhart added two runs and an RBI and reached base on two of her four plate appearances.
The Wolves spread the ball around in their 12-hit effort, recording three doubles and two triples. Senior catcher Natalie Bernard would have added an inside-the-park home run to the highlight reel — had her game-ending hit not brought in Loegering for the Wolves’ 10th run and a win under the 10-run rule.
But the real highlight might have come from pitcher Hannah Johnson, who threw a no-hitter into the sixth inning in her first trip to the mound since throwing two weeks prior in a series of scrimmages in Orlando, Fla.
The junior pitcher had 11 strikeouts through six innings and walked just two Pine City batters. The lone hit she gave up was a lead-off single in the sixth inning on a shot out to center field. Of the 70 pitches Johnson threw, 50 were strikes.

Hannah Johnson
Hannah Johnson

“I was real confident in Hannah coming into the game after Florida,” head coach Randy Johnson said. Johnson went 3-1-1 in those Florida scrimmages.
Ploeger scored the first run of the season to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead after one inning. Milaca scored four more runs in the second inning with Orianna Scherer, Paige Quaintance, Ploeger and Airhart came across the plate.
After a scoreless third inning, Ploeger scored her third run of the game in the fourth inning for a 6-0 lead. Airhart scored her second run of the game to put the Wolves up 7-0 after four innings. The Dragons also held the Wolves scoreless in the fifth inning.
In the sixth inning, Ploeger reached base on a lead-off bunt. An Airhart triple brought Ploeger in for her fourth run of the game. Kristina Loegering followed with a triple of her own that scored Airhart. Bernard then brought the game to an end because of the 10-run rule with an inside-the-park home run that scored Loegering and put Milaca up 10-0. Bernard’s run did not count because it would have been the 11th run.
“I was happy to see our hitting come around,” Johnson said.
Johnson anticipated some challenges for the Wolves, who saw a lot of fast pitches and change-ups from its scrimmage partners in Florida. Johnson thought his team might struggle more at the plate against some slower pitching.
The Wolves’ game Monday against Becker was postponed because of cold weather. Tuesday’s game at

Kristina Loegering
Kristina Loegering

Zimmerman was also postponed.
Milaca is scheduled to play at home against Mora tonight, April 17, and then at home Tuesday, April 22, against Cathedral.