This is were they make you warm up if the bus is late to the park.
The Bruce Girls softball had 4 game scheduled last week and got 2 games in and won both conference games.
 
We did have a scrimmage in the indoor sports area in Eau Claire the week before, so we got to see some live pitching and I think it helped us in our first game. 
 
I like to play some non-conference games before getting into conference competition, so we can learn from our mistakes, but the way the weather is you play when you get a chance. 
 
Our first game was on Monday in Clear Lake, where it is always cold and windy.  This year it was just cold and wind was not that bad.  The sun came out and it actually seemed warmer then what the temperature really was.
 
The Red Raiders got out of the box quickly in the top of the first scoring 4 runs.  As Kellie Morgan, Karlie Antczak, Kara Graves and Karissa Stewart all picked up rbi’s.  It was good to get our bats going early, as we got 4 hits in the inning.  Karlie Antczak took the circle for Bruce and pitched a 3 up 3 down inning.  Bruce picked up 3 more runs in the second on rbi’s by Kellie and Karlie.  Clear Lake got 2 runs back in the 2nd inning to tighten the score to 7-2.  Bruce got those 2 runs back in the 3rd on rbi hits by Shaina Quinn and Megan Prorok.  Clear Lake score 3 in the 3rd as we had a couple of errors and gave them some runs.  After the first three innings of a lot of scoring the pitching and defenses settled down for an inning.  With 2 outs in the 5th, Bruce got 4 insurance runs across the plate on some key hits by Jordyn Stearns and Karlie Antczak.  This was a big inning for Bruce as Clear Lake would come back with 2 in the 6th and 1 in the 7th to tighten the score to a final of 13-9.  I thought we played pretty good despite the conditions.  We did have a try spell at the plate over the last couple of innings, but we played pretty good defense.  Kara Graves came in a pitched the final 2 innings and got the save for Karlie.  Karlie pitched well, but with the cold temps it was hard for her to maintain the control that she normally has.  We have players in new positions this year and they have to get used to playing with each other, so we did have some errors, but overall I was happy with our play considering it was the first game. Leading hitters were:  Karlie Antczak with 4, Megan Prorok, Shaina Quinn and Jordyn Stearns with 2 hits. 
 
A snow out on Tuesday against Hayward, but we were able to get our second conference game in on Thursday.  It was a little chilly, but playable. 
 
The Red Raiders were playing a team that was considered to be a team to fighting to win the conference this year, but a knee injury to their pitcher during basketball forced Prairie Farm to start some younger kids in the circle.  Prairie Farm has a nice hitting team and some experienced players, so losing their pitcher really hurt them.
 
After Karlie shut down Prairie Farm bats in the top of the first, the Red Raiders got to the plate and batted around.  We showed a lot of patience at the plate as the Prairie Farm pitcher struggled to throw strikes.  Bruce took advantage of 8 walks 2 hit by pitching and got hits including 2 by Megan Prorok to score 11 runs.  Prairie Farm loaded the bases in the top of the second and had one run in, but Bruce turned a 1-2-3 double play to get out of the inning.  That was a nice play and a big play at the time as they had the top of the order coming up. 
It took the Bruce batters an inning to get used to the second pitcher that Prairie Farm put into the game and Prairie Farm picked up a couple of unearned runs in the 3rd to tighten the score to 11-3 but the Red Raiders would get 4 runs in the bottom of the inning.  After 2 outs Shaina Quinn ripped a 2 rbi double and Megan Prorok got her third hit of the night and an rbi.  Katelyn Kinnear added an rbi ground out. 
 
Prairie Farm picked up 4 runs in the 4th inning, but then Bruce put the game away as they scored 9 runs in the bottom of the 4th to win the game 24-7.  We finally got our timing down on their second pitcher, and ripped some shots picking up 9 hits.  On the game Megan Prorok had 4 hits, Kara Graves, had 3 hits.  Shaina Quinn had 4 rbi’s. Karlie picked up her second win of the year and Kara came in and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th.
 
It was good to get this game in and play pretty decent.  All the things we did wrong are correctable.  We played pretty good defense against a pretty good hitting team.  We picked up 13 hits in the first game and 16 hits in this game, so hopefully we can keep our bats going as the season goes along.  To start the conference off with 2 wins is a nice start to the season. 
 
 WEEK @2
This week we are scheduled to play 2 non-conference games, Monday against Cumberland and Thursday against Cadott both at home. These two teams should be some pretty good competition and we will need to be on the top of our game to wins these games.  

The Bruce Red Raider softball team got to play one game last week.  The beginning of the week was a wash out by weather and other teams in the conference not having full teams this year.  Good thing we had a snow out last week and moved the Cadott game to Thursday, otherwise we would not have played any games.  So we were able to get some good inside practice time and go over some situations that come up in games.
 
On Thursday, Cadott came to town. It was the second year that we have played Cadott, both games originally scheduled at Cadott, but our field was try and in good shape for the game. 
 
Cadott has a nice team, with a lot of players back that defeated us pretty good last year. 
 
In the top of the first Cadott got a leadoff single, stole second and then scored the first run on a Bruce error.  Cadott has some speed and tried to use it to their advantage throughout the game, but it hurt them as Jordyn Stearns gunned down a runner at third after making a great catch on a foul ball.  I think they thought they would surprise us and with all the fielders charging in and the wind blowing the ball foul Jordyn got it and Kellie Morgan covered third to get the out.  This is the one area that we have been working on.  Never stand around and watch the game you are playing and there is always a play to be made.
 
In the bottom of the first Bruce struck back with 3 runs, Shaina Quinn reached on a hit and then Megan Prorok ripped a long triple to score Shaina.  Jordyn Stearns hit a long sacrifice fly to score Megan.  After one out Kellie Morgan singled and after two outs, Kara Graves reached on an error to score Kellie.  That was big to match their score plus get other runs.
 
Cadott was not done scoring adding 2 runs in the second. The game remained tied until the bottom of the 3rd when Bruce plated three more runs.  Jordyn doubled to lead off the inning and Karlie Antczak got an rbi single, Kara Graves then got hit by a pitch and with two outs Karissa Stewart gapped the outfielders for a 2 rbi double.  That was a big hit for Karissa.  The lead was back to 3 runs at 6-3.  Bruce got another run in the 4th as Shaina Quinn picked up her 3rd hit of the night and stole second and Jordyn knocked her in with an rbi single. 
 
Cadott picked up runs in the 5th and 6th innings to tighten the score to 7-5.  But in the bottom of the 6th, Bruce batted around scoring 4 runs. 
 
We hit the ball hard off of both of the pitchers Cadott picking up 13 hits on the night.  Karlie pitched the entire game and did a great job of mixing speeds and keeping the Cadott batters off balance through the later innings of the game.  We need to start fielding the ball a little better, but with the wind that was blowing hard all game it made some plays difficult.  We just need to keep fighting and concentrating throughout the whole game.
 
The Bruce JV team got to play 2 games in Gilman on Saturday.  It was good to get our young girls a chance to play in some games.  They are learning and improving every day.  With 6 freshman on the team they just need to play to get experience and that was what this day was all about.  The team went 1-1 on the day, with a close lose to Gilman 9-8 and then beat Marshfield Columbus 19-8.  Katelyn Kinnear picked up the win in the second game.  Marina Mansky took the loss in the first game, but pitched pretty good.
This week we have a conference game at Lake Holcombe/Cornell on Monday and then travel to Shell Lake on Friday.  Next week we have 3 games conference game scheduled.  Home vs. Northwood on Monday, at Flambeau on Tuesday, and then play at Birchwood on Thursday.  Hopefully we can continue to improve and play some good softball.  These will be 3 tough games, as Northwood is the defending conference champions, Flambeau and Birchwood are two teams that are picked to win the conference.  
 WEEK3
The Bruce girls softball continued play last week, as they played at Lake Holcombe on Monday, and at Shell Lake on Friday.
 
On Monday, at Lake Holcombe, the Red Raiders found themselves in a pitchers dual for the first 3 innings as the Lake Holcombe pitcher Abby Clark kept the Red Raider hitters off balance.  We came out a little flat and Abby was on her game.  Karlie had a great start until the Red Raider defense had an error and Lake Holcombe/Cornell took advantage taking a 3-0 lead after 3 innings. 
 
Bruce finally started to put the bat on the ball in the 4th inning as they plated 3 runs to tie the game.  Kellie Morgan led off with a hit, stole second and Karlie got an rbi hit.  After two outs and an error on Lake Holcombe scored the second run, Morgan Mansky got a base hit to score the third run.
 
Bruce picked up another run in the 4th, on and rbi ground out by Jordyn Stearns to score Shaina Quinn, who led off the inning with a hit. 
 
Karlie got back into a grove and the Bruce defense played pretty good over the next 3 innings and Bruce continued to score runs. 
 
In the 6th inning, Karlie lead the inning off with a hit, Karissa Stewart got on by an error, Morgan Mansky then got on by fielder choice.  With two outs, after a steal of second and third, freshman Hannah Shimko got her first varsity hit a 2 rbi single.  After 6 innings Bruce had a 6-4 lead.  In the top of the 7th Bruce broke the game open with a 8 run inning.  It was good to see the girls battle all game and finally in 7th come through with some big hits.  Kellie Morgan, Kara Graves. Jordyn Stearns,and Hannah Shimko all had rbi hits. 
 
With the score at 14-3, Lake Holcombe loaded the bases, with no one out, scored one run on a ground ball out and then Megan Prorok, make a nice play on a hard hit ground ball stepped on third and threw to first for the game ending double play.
 
Overall we did not play that bad, we just played flat, but stayed with it and came through in the later innings.  Over my years of coaching it has always been tough to go and play in Lake Holcombe.  I am glad we were able to come out of there with a win.
 
On Thursday, our JV team got in a game at Barron and picked up a 32-9 win.  It is good to get the freshman some games.  They did a great job of hitting the ball and overall played good defense.  It is good to watch these young girls learn the game of softball. 
 
On Friday, the Red Raiders traveled to Shell Lake.  Shell Lake has a very good program and will be one of the top seeds in our Sectional. 
 
On Tuesday, we found out that Kellie Morgan our shortstop hit her head and has a concussion.  So this with some other things happening at school made it an evaluation week for us.  It is difficult to lose your clean-up hitter and starting shortstop.  All the girls needed to step up.  We tried moving players around and settled on a line-up for the game.   We hope Kellie gets better and will return quickly.
 
So with a make shift line-up the Red Raiders fell to Shell Lake 5-0.  It was a good softball game.  There were some plays we wish we would have hustled a little more. 
 
The Shell Lake pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off balance all game.  We only squared up on one ball all night.  Karlie did a nice job of keeping the Shell Lake batters guessing, but when we needed a big play the ball just got by our infielders.  Shell Lake scored 2 runs in the first, 1 in the third and 2 in the 5th.  Shaina Quinn played a good game defensively for Bruce running down some fly balls. Megan Prorok had 3 hits on the night, as Bruce only picked up 4 hits. 
 
We will learn from this game.  It is always good to play good teams, we wish we would of played a little better, but it is still earlier and we can correct the mistakes we made to make us better.
 
Next week we play 2 home games, Tuesday, vs. Clear Lake and Thursday, vs. Lake Holcombe/Cornell.  Both games are at 5:00 at the Bruce Park.
WEEK4
Last week the Bruce softball team was able to play 2 of 3 games scheduled.
 
Monday’s game was rained out, Tuesday’s game ended up being moved to Bruce because Flambeau’s field was unplayable and Thursday the Red Raiders went to Birchwood.
 
On Tuesday, the Red Raiders came out strong and took a 2 – 0 lead after an inning.  I thought the girls game ready to play and it showed in the first inning.  We should have been up 3-0 but a nice throw to home cut down another run.  Megan Prorok got the 2 rbi hit in the inning.
 
Karlie Antczak was in the circle for Bruce and pitched pretty good over the first couple of innings, but Flambeau kept the pressure on and the third tied the game at 2. 
 
Bruce had a lot of chances to score more runs in the 3rd, 4th and 6th innings but could not come up with a key hit.  Any of those innings we score a run or two and we win.  We had runners on 3rd base and less than two outs and could not get them in.  Flambeau got 2 more runs in the 5th and 6th innings to push take a 6-2 lead.  We missed couple of plays and they took advantage of extra outs.  Hannah Ludescher had a big night for Flambeau driving in 4 of the six runs.

In the bottom of the 7th Bruce got a rally going, after an error, Jordyn Stearns ripped a long double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd, Megan Prorok tripled to score those two runners and Karlie Antczak picked up a hit to score Megan.  Karlie got to second base with no one out, after one out Marina Mansky laid down a nice bunt, but the Flambeau third baseman made a nice play to get her out at first on a very close play.  Jenna Benson came up and ripped a shot up the middle and Flambeau’s centerfielder made a shoestring catch to end the game.  Flambeau just made a couple of more plays than we did to win 6-5.  It was a good high school softball game and the fans got treated to a very competitive game.
 
We worked on some things in practice on Wednesday, and headed to Birchwood to play the undefeated Bobcats.  The game got going and after a strike out to Shaina Quinn and a passed ball Shaina made it to first and then used her speed to get around the bases to give the Red Raiders a 1-0 lead.  The lead did not last long as Birchwood tied it in the bottom of the first on a home run and then took the lead in the bottom of the second.  We were not executing that well at the plate.  We were not looking good at the plate.  In the top of the 3rd, Bruce got a run back to tie the game on and rbi single by Jordyn Stearns.  Then the picked up 4 runs in the 4th, on an rbi by Kara Graves, and some good execution on bunts to take a 6-2 lead.  Karlie was doing a great job of mixing pitches and shut down the Bobcats over the 3rd and 4th innings.  We also played good defense behind her.  The Red Raiders got the big inning they were looking for in the top of the 5th scoring 7 times.  We bunted really well and scored some runs on passed balls, Hannah Shimko came off the bunch for a big 2 rbi hit and then Kara Graves got a 2 rbi hit.  Birchwood would not go away as they plated 2 runs in the 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, our defense kind of took the first part of the inning off and allowed the game to extend another inning.
 
Bruce kept the pressure on as they picked up 3 runs in the top of the 6th, again Kara Graves had a big two out hit in the inning.  Hannah Shimko also added an rbi ground out.  Birchwood would get one run back, but the game ended as Karlie got a ground out to end the game with a 16-6 win.
It was a good win for the Red Raiders after a loss on Tuesday.  The girls were up to the challenge and once we started to execute and put the ball in play we used our speed to keep pressure on Birchwood.  The girls are playing pretty good softball and will hopefully continue that as the season starts to come to an end.
 
This week we play two home games, the first one is against Clear Lake, who is tied for first place in the conference and Thursday against Lake Holcombe/Cornell, who gave us a good game the first time we played them.
 
Next week we will be very busy, playing 5 games.  We travel to Flambeau and Northwood on Monday and Tuesday before playing 3 non-conference games to end the week.  Hayward at home on Thursday and then the Bruce Tournament on Saturday with Prentice, Solon Springs and Unity. 
 
 
WEEK 5
Over the past week the Bruce Red Raider softball team played two conference softball games.  On Tuesday a very hot Clear Lake team came to town.  Clear Lake had not lost since the first Bruce beat them in the first game of the year. 
 
We knew they had been playing pretty good softball and worked hard in practice in facing some of things they do different offensively.  They have a pretty good pitcher that has been pitching for 4 years and has been pitching pretty well this year.
 
Karlie Antczak started in the circle for the Red Raiders and pitched a one of her better games of the year.  Our defense behind her was tremendous.  We turned 2 double plays and Shaina Quinn made 3 nice catches in center field to shut down Clear Lake innings.
 
Bruce got the bats going right away in the bottom of the first after Karlie pitched a 1-2-3 top of the inning. Shaina lead off with a hit, stole second and scored on a single by Jordyn Stearns, Megan Prorok doubled to deep center to score Jordyn and then moved up on a passed ball and scored on an rbi sacrifice fly by Karlie.  That was a great way to start a game. 
 
Clear Lake had a bad inning defensively in the 2nd as Bruce scored 2 more runs.  We hit the ball and put pressure on them.  It was good to get more runs, we talked about not letting up after we get a lead and taking at bats off.  The last couple of games we have been doing that.  Keep adding runs when we get the opportunity. 
 
Karlie was continuing to pitch strong over the next couple of innings.  The only rough spot was the 5th, but she limited Clear Lake to only 2 runs and 5 hits on the game.  With 3 of those hits coming in the 5th.
 
The Red Raider offense continued to put runs on the board with 2 more runs in the 3rd innng.  Karlie got on with a single, Karissa Stewart hit a long double, Marina Mansky had a 2 rbi hit. 
 
After a quiet 4th, and after Clear Lake scored their 2 runs, the Red Raiders bats put the game away with a 5 runs bottom of the 5th.  Jordyn lead of the inning with a hit, Megan got a hit, Karlie got a hit, after Jordyn scored on a passed ball.  Marina loaded the bases with an infield hit and Jenna Benson cleared the bases with a single to left field that the left fielder misplayed to score all 3 runs.  Morgan Mansky then hit a slow roller in front of the plate, Clear Lake got the out at first, but Katelyn Kinnear scored on the play to give the Red Raiders a 12-2 win.
 
On Thursday, Lake Holcombe came to town.  The first time we played them the game was close for the first 6 innings.  Even though Lake Holcombe/Cornell is down a little this year they have a pretty good pitcher that seems to keep the Red Raider batters a little off balance. 
 
Again Karlie was on her game and pitched well, some of her pitches were not working the way they normally do and the Red Raider defense was not as sharp as the Clear Lake game, but we made played when we needed to.
 
It is always good to score first and that is what the Red Raiders did this game.  Shaina Quinn got a hit, Kara Graves walked and both girls moved up on steals.  Jordyn Stearns hit a long fly ball that hit off the centerfielders glove to score two runs and Jordyn ended up with a triple.  Megan Prorok then hit another long fly that was caught to score Jordyn.  The second inning plated 3 more runs for the Red Raiders.  Marina Mansky Shaina Quinn, Kara Graves and Jordyn Stearns all had hits in the inning.  In the third, freshman, EmMary Czyscon got her first varsity hit, to score Karlie.  With the score 7-0 after 3 innings, it looked like the game would be over after 5 innings, but the Lake Holcombe/Cornell pitcher pitched a nice 4th and 5th inning and Lake Holcombe/Cornell plated to runs in the top of the 5th.  We missed played a ball and all of a sudden the game was 7-2.  Karlie got out of a small jam in the 6th and the Red Raider bats awoke again to score 4 runs in the bottom of the 6th.  Brandi Gauthier hit a long triple for her first varsity hit, scored on a hit by Shaina, Jordyn had an rbi hit and along with Karlie in the inning.  With the score 11-2, Lake Holcombe/Cornell got a run, before the game ended on a ground ball back to the pitcher.  With the win the Red Raiders move to 7-2 on the year and 6-1 in the conference. 
 
It was good to continue to win, we will need to continue to get better as we continue to play teams for a second time.  This week we play only two conference game.  Flambeau on Monday and defending conference champs Northwood on Tuesday.  The rest of the week is filled with non-conference competition.  Thursday is Hayward and Saturday, a tournament at home against Prentice and Solon Springs and maybe one other team.  The tournament should be some good competition for us.  The last week is the last week of the regular season games.  We play 4 games that week before the WIAA tournament begins.
 
WEEK6
Last week the Bruce girls softball was about to embark on a very busy week of softball, unfortunately the weather decided not to cooperate.  Of the 5 games scheduled the Red Raiders were only able to play 2 games.
 
On Monday, the Red Raiders traveled to Flambeau for a crucial battle for first place in the East Lakeland.  Bruce’s only conference loss was a 1 run loss to Flambeau 2 weeks ago. 
 
The Red Raiders were ready to get things going and that is what they did in the top of the first inning.  Shaina Quinn led off with a hit, a sacrifice bunt and a throwing error allowed Shaina to come all the way around the bases to score.  Jordy Stearns than walked, moved up a base on a passed ball and scored on a hit by Megan Prorok, Megan than stole second and scored on a hit by Karlie Antczak.  It was a great start, but in the bottom of the first Flambeau loaded the bases with one out and were threatening to get right back in the game.  Karlie got a strike out and a pop fly too short to end the inning.  That was a big point in the game even though it was early.  If Flambeau scores, the get the momentum right back, but the momentum stayed with the Re Raiders as they got 4 runs in the top of the 2nd. The Red Raiders scored all their runs with 2 outs.  Shaina Quinn was on board with her second hit, moved up on a fly ball and then scored on a hit by Jordyn Stearns.  Megan than doubled to knock in Jordyn, Karlie got an rbi hit and Karissa Stewart picked up a hit and Marina Mansky walked to load the bases.  Kellie Morgan walked to force in a run and the Red Raiders were up 7-0. 
 
Flambeau picked up their 3 runs in the bottom of the second, Flambeau has a nice hitting team and they got right back in the game.  Karlie got a big strike out to end the inning on Flambeau’s number 4 hitter.  The momentum did not stay long with the Falcon’s.  Bruce had another big inning, scoring 8 times.  Jordyn Stearns double to drive in 2 runs and after two outs Karlie’s base hit scored Jordyn.   With Karlie on first, Karissa Stewart got a hit and an rbi, Kellie Morgan a 2 rbi hit and Shaina ripped a triple to give the Red Raiders a 15-3 lead.
 
Karlie would not allow another run and the Red Raiders got the win.
 
What a great team effort by the girls.  Everything came together on this night as we were very focused at the plate, ran the bases aggressively and played pretty good defense.  Karlie did a great job of keeping the Flambeau hitters off balance and limiting any real big innings. 
 
For the game:  Shaina Quinn had 4 hits, Jordyn Stearns, Karissa Stewart and Karlie Antcak had 3 hits, Megan Prorok had 2 hits.  Karlie limited Flambeau to 7 hits, striking out 2 and walking 2. 

With the win and a Flambeau win over Birchwood the Red Raiders now have a 2 game lead in the conference standings. 
 
Tuesday night the Red Raiders were set to head to Northwood, but the rainy weather, caused the game to be canceled. 
 
On Thursday, Hayward came to town and the Red Raiders picked up their 9th win on the year with a 7-2 win. 
 
I thought we were a little flat and the execution that we had against Flambeau was not there at the plate.  We had a lot of runners on base, but either could not come up with the proper execution to get them in.  Hayward played pretty good and their pitcher made pitches the we were not able to square up on, but we got the win and will continue to learn to be more selective and hit our pitch at the plate.
 
Hayward got on the board right away in the first inning and then scored in the second to go up 2-0.  A couple of the Hayward hitters hit the ball pretty good until Karlie made some adjustments in the circle and mowed them down over the last 5 innings.  I thought she did some of her best pitching of the year in those innings. 
 
The Red Raiders would get on the score board in the bottom of the second.  After a couple of walks, Kellie Morgan got an rbi hit and then Jenna Benson got a 2 rbi hit to give Bruce the lead 3-2.  Bruce picked up 2 more runs in bottom of the third, on a 2 rbi hit by Kellie Morgan.  It is great to have Kellie back in our line-up after being out for 3 weeks because of an injury.  In both games she stepped right back in there and did great.
 
The Red Raiders got their final two runs on rbi ground outs to win 7-2.    The Red Raiders are now 9-2 on the year and 7-1 in the conference.
 
On Saturday, the Bruce Softball Tournament was canceled due to cold and windy conditions.  It is just hard to play and have fun when the weather is that nasty.
 
This week the Red Raiders travel to Prairie Farm, Monday, play at home vs. Birchwood on Tuesday, play a non-conference game against Cumberland Thursday and play Northwood on Friday.  This is an important week of softball for the girls if they want to reach their goals.  WIAA playoffs start the following week and we will begin a new season.