Three shutouts propel Swedes to second consecutive state tournament
Gothenburg accomplished a season-long goal Friday, that was not unexpected, of earning a repeat berth in the state softball tournament.
The Swedes were expected to breeze through the competition which had a combined record of 52-121 going into District C-6 play. Three straight run-rule victories—Gothenburg outscored three opponents 31-0—earned the championship hardware.
The Swedes played well in all phases of the game despite the lack of competition. They combined for a .424 batting average (25-59) and committed just one error.
They got stellar pitching performances from Amanda Barkmeier who allowed just five hits overall while striking out 11 batters and walking none.
“We worked hard all week in spotting our fastball and our inside and outside pitches,” Swede coach Roger Neujahr said. “I thought she did an excellent job, probably the best we’ve seen (with her pitch location).”
Gothenburg, now 25-6, will open the state tournament at 3 p.m. Wednesday against Arlington.
Quick start boosts Swedes
Gothenburg struck for nine runs in the first two innings to set the tone in an 11-0 victory over Chase County.
Becca Riley’s RBI double led a five-run rally in the first inning. Three other Swedes drove in runs with singles.
Gothenburg batted through the order again in the second. Three singles combined with a couple of errors and a walk for a four-run burst.
Consecutive doubles by Emily Franzen and Kyndal Holmes helped score three more in the third.
The Lady Longhorns couldn’t respond in the fourth and the game ended early.
Franzen went 3-for-3 and had three RBI.
Wildcats tamed 10-0
It took a while for Gothenburg to adjust to a slow St. Paul pitcher. Once that happened the Swedes erupted for nine runs in the third and fourth innings en route to a 10-0 run-rule victory after four.
“I don’t know what it is,” Neujahr said. “It’s just hard adjusting to a really slow pitcher. We kept reminding the players to move up in the box and be patient.”
He said he’s not a firm believer in taking a strike, but the coaching staff suggested that as a possibility to help players get accustomed to the slow pitches.
It did take a while. Gothenburg led just 1-0 after one inning and left the bases loaded in a scoreless second frame.
Three hits and as many errors produced three runs in the third inning.
The hits weren’t needed in a six-run fourth. Nine walks provided for the margin that allowed the game to end early.
Franzen was again the hitting leader with a pair of singles and two RBI.
Minden falls in title tilt
The Whippets gamely fought through the loser’s bracket but didn’t have much left in the championship game.
Minden came into the tournament with just six wins for the season and then captured four victories before having to face Gothenburg.
The Swedes again started quickly with three runs in the first inning. It could have been worse as the rally ended with bases loaded.
Gothenburg poured in five more runs in the second. Kyndal Holmes hit a double Brittyn Munster and Amanda Barkmeier each stroked run-scoring singles.
The Swedes added single runs in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Holmes and in the fourth on Taylor Wolf’s RBI single which ended the game early.
Barkmeier gave up a double to the first Minden batter who was stranded. She sat down the next 12 in order.
Munster, Franzen and Barkmeier each had a pair of hits.