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Cards, Panthers win twice before showdown

Allison Freier pitches for Ellsworth against New Richmond last week. Photo by Dave Newman

What made Thursday's Middle Border Conference contest between Hwy. 10 rivals Prescott and Ellsworth meaningful was the two wins each team picked-up in league action last week.

Prescott started with a big 2-1 win at Biggs Frey Field over Baldwin-Woodville which knocked the Blackhawks further back in the standings. PHS trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth when an infield error on a flyball kept a Cardinal rally alive with two outs. Prescott scored twice that inning to win the game. PHS' Sammy Hansen was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate while teammate Mary Kate Pryor had two hits with an RBI. Kallie Krech was the winning pitcher and tossed a five-hitter. The Cards' top defensive play was a home-run robbing catch by outfielder Rachel Johnson in the first inning.

Prescott blanked Durand Tuesday in Arkansaw 10-0 in five innings. The Redbirds extended Durand's losing streak to five game as Krech threw a two-hitter for her second shutout of the season. Shelby Anderson hit a two-RBI single, Pryor drove in two runs with a single and scored twice, Rachel Johnson also drive in two runs with a single as did Sophie Carlson.

Ellsworth too, won a close game to start the week, an 8-7 triumph in New Richmond. The Panthers scored four runs in the top of the seventh to overcome a deficit. EHS batters drew 14 walks, three of them which set up runs in the top of the seventh. Winning pitcher Allison Freier only had four walks.

Kayla Christopherson went 3-for-3 with three RBIs for Ellsworth while Halle Hatch finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Freier also drove in a run.

And like Prescott, the Purple caught a breather the following day by blanking Osceola at home 8-0. Ellsworth used a third pitcher this week, Mackenzie Diercks. She tossed a one-hitter and struck out seven in seven innings.

Taylor Nelson, Hatch and Christopherson each collected two hits and two runs. Mariah Diercks hit a double and drove in three runs.

And while the first place showdown between both Pierce County teams didn't amount to much in an 11-2 Cardinal triumph, Ellsworth head coach Ryan Casper was still pleased with his team's overall performance.

" Up Thursday we were playing good defensive, error free ball," Casper said. "We had solid pitching and we were getting clutch hits when we needed them. We still have to continue on because we're still in contention."