Controlling their fate

Vikings inch closer to division title with sweep of Hillman

News Photo by James Andersen Posen’s Brooke Ciarkowski, right, beats a tag from Hillman catcher Joslyn Brown to score a run during a softball game on Monday at Posen High School.

POSEN–Clutch hitting put the Posen softball right where it wants to be.

Faith Cousins scored on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the sixth inning in game one and Lizzy Romel singled to score Brooke Ciarkowski in game two, giving Posen 7-6 and 12-11 wins over Hillman during a North Star League double header on Monday.

The wins put Posen (11-3, 5-1 NSL) in the driver’s seat for the North Star League’s Little Dipper division title, which the Vikings can wrap up next week against Hale.

In two back-and-forth battles, the Vikings prevailed after getting big hits all through their lineup.

“Our destiny is in our own hands,” Posen coach Wayne Karsten said. “These kids have worked so hard in the gym the last couple years and to see what they’ve done (is great).”

Posen took game one after Cousins lined a double down the left field line. Riley Krajniak bunted her to third base and Hannah Stone hit a grounder to third base to score Cousins on a fielder’s choice.

The run came after Hillman scored twice in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Posen struck together four singles, scoring once when Alison Samp singled to score Bailey Schook. Three batters later, Joslyn Brown hit into a fielder’s choice to score Samp, tying the game 6-6.

Posen used a two-run single in each of the first two innings to take a 4-1 lead. Hillman cut the lead to 4-2 after three innings and scored two more runs in the fourth inning on a two-run single from Brooke Jones, briefly trying the game 4-4.

Posen took the lead back when Stone scored Cousins on a groundout. Hillman went scoreless in the fifth inning and Posen added a run when Ava Wesner singled and advanced all the way home when the ball got into the outfield.

“We had big hits from our eighth graders, Faith Cousins and Ava Wesner, we had a big hit…everybody is contributing,” Karsten said. “It takes a total team effort to win and the team effort starts when we walk out of the building for warm-ups.”

Ciarkowski and Romel each had a two-single single for Posen and Makayla Kamyszek earned the win.

Jones had three hits and two RBI for Hillman; Schook, Samp and Mackenzie VanPamel each had two hits and Brown had a pair of RBI. Schook took the loss for the Tigers.

Both teams got the bats going early, but Posen held leads of 5-3, 10-6 and 11-7 after the first, third and fourth innings respectively.

Hillman came up big with two outs in the fifth inning to tie the game. Jones cut Posen’s lead to two with a two-run double and Makenna Grulke launched a two-run home run to left field to tie the game.

The Tigers got a pair of quick outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Posen stayed alive long enough to plate the eventual winning run. Ciarkowski singled and advanced to second. After Kamyszek walked, Romel singled to bring in Ciarkowski.

Hillman got one base runner on in the top of the sixth inning, but Posen ended the game on a pair of flyouts.

“We had a game like this last week against Joburg that was just like this, so the girls have been in tight games like this and it didn’t rattle them,” Karsten said. “They felt confident because they’d been there before.”

Ciarkowski had a pair of hits; Kamyszek had three doubles and two RBI; Wesner had two hits and an RBI and Faith Romel had a pair of hits and three RBI, including a two-run home run to center field in the third inning.

Jones and Grulke each had three hits for Hillman and Samp had two hits.

Krajniak earned the win for Posen and McKenna Hiveley took the loss for Hillman.