By: J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola
Six hitters into the game, things did not look particularly promising for the Harmony softball team. A couple of singles, two hit batters, a mishandled bunt and a sacrifice fly found the Longhorns trailing arch-rival St. Cloud, 4-0, with just one out in top of the first inning.
But Harmony pitcher Lindsay Green would settle down by retiring 16 of the next 18 hitters she faced and freshman Emerson Asian would slam a massive home run as the Longhorns rallied for an 8-7 win over their arch-rivals for their first win of the season.
“Lot of credit tonight goes to our senior leadership,” Harmony coach Kristi Mindrup said. “We got behind early but these kids never gave up and kept chipping away.”
The comeback started in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner on first, Amanda Whalen singled to put runners on the corners. Green then doubled to center to drive in two runs and Dominica Kohout doubled to the left-center gap to score Green and cut the deficit to 4-3.
Freshman Addisyn Todd would relieve Bulldog starter Brianna Costa to start the fourth, but she would last just two hitters. Todd would hit leadoff hitter Angelica Castro and then Asian – pinch hitting for Shyanne Dumford – would send the first pitch she saw way over the left field fence and onto the roof of the baseball batting cages for her first career home run and a 5-4 Harmony lead.
The score would remain the same until the top of the sixth, when St. Cloud would use single, a walk and a throwing error to score three runs to retake the lead, 7-5. Green only gave up one hit and one earned run in the inning but was able to limit the damage by getting Brooklyn Scott to pop out to third and then struck out Olivia Lameau to get out of the inning.
Harmony would go ahead for good in the bottom of the sixth. With two on and one out, Ireland Sibbitt connected on a two-run double and Green would bring her home with a two-out RBI single to left.
Asian would then make a potential game saving play with a defensive gem in the top of the seventh. Addison Felblinger hit a line drive over the freshman’s head, but Asian would pick up the ball at the base of the fence and fire a strike to second base on the fly to easily throw out Felbinger. “She (Emerson) is going to be a special player. She hits everything she sees and has cannon for an arm defensively,” Mindrup said.
After the stellar play, Green allowed the potential tying run to reach when she hit Gracelyn Watford with a pitch, but got Leah McLaughlin to fly out to right and then struck out Kamrie Poppell to end the game. In pitching a complete game, Green allowed four hits, struck out nine and allowed five earned runs in the game. She also had two hits and two RBI for the Longhorns.
Whalen, Sibbett and Kohout also had two hits apiece for Harmony, who won for the first time in three games this year. Costa and Lemeau each reached base three times and McLaughlin had a hit, RBI and run scored for the Bulldogs, who fell to 4-1 on the season.
Still, St. Cloud’s athletic department managed a split on the night. The Bulldogs boys baseball team took a 10-7 extra-innings win over the Longhorns in a game being played next door at the same time as the girls softball game. Harmony rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game, 7-7. The Bulldogs scored three times in the top of the ninth and freshman Sebastian Echeverry pitched two and two-third innings of scoreless relief to pick up the win. Roman Lopez and Jorge Vicioso had two RBI each for the Bulldogs.