Vikings, Wolverines split North Star League doubleheader

News Photo by James Andersen Posen’s Brooke Ciarkowski (2) high-fives third base coach Greg Pietsch after hitting a home run in the third inning of a softball game on Monday against Au Gres at Posen High School. Ciarkowski’s two-run shot was her first of the season and went over the center field fence to give the Vikings an 11-7 lead.

POSEN–The Posen softball team has shown itself to be plenty talented this season.

But as the calendar flips to the last few weeks of the season before districts, the Vikings know they still have some kinks to work out.

Brooke Ciarkowski hit a two-run home run and the Vikings split a pair of North Star League games with Au Gres on Monday in Posen. The Vikings took the opener 18-8 in five innings and the Wolverines triumphed in the nightcap 13-4.

Posen (9-1) collected 22 runs on 15 hits on the day, but couldn’t overcome some defensive lapses in the nightcap.

“That’s one thing we can work on regardless of the weather,” Posen coach Wayne Karsten said of the Vikings’ offense. “The stuff that’s more difficult is the defensive stuff and that comes from not being outside much.”

Posen's Ava Wesner, left, slides safely into third base during a softball game against Au Gres on Monday in Posen.

Posen withstood some early shots from the Wolverines in the opener and responded with 18 runs over five innings. Au Gres scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but Posen took the lead for good with six runs in its first turn at the plate.

Au Gres scored twice in the top of the second inning to make it 6-5, but Posen added three runs in the bottom of the inning and held a comfortable lead the rest of the way.

The Vikings took an 11-7 lead after three innings when Ciarkowski blasted a two-run shot to center field, her first of the season.

She finished the game with two hits and three RBI. Riley Krajniak had two hits and an RBI; Hannah Stone had three hits, an RBI and scored four runs; Ava Wesner had two hits and four RBI and Faith Cousins had two hits and three RBI, including a walk-off two-run single in the fifth inning.

Posen finished the game with 12 hits.

News Photo by James Andersen Posen's Makayla Kamyszek makes contact with a pitch during a game against Au Gres on Monday in Posen.

Au Gres’ first three batters got on to begin the game and the Wolverines were able to get all three of them home. Posen responded quickly as Krajniak led off with a triple and Stone singled her in. Makayla Kamyszek, Wesner and Cousins each had RBI singles before the end of the inning and Lizzy Romel had an RBI on a groundout.

Leading 13-8 after innings, Posen added five more runs after scoring on an error, twice on bases-loaded walks and two more on Cousins’ single.

Posen had trouble adjusting to Au Gres pitcher Madison Findlay in the opener and struck out six times. In the field, Posen committed five errors and managed just three hits at the plate.

With both teams making consistent contact at the plate in game one, Karsten reminded his team of a scenario a few years ago in which both teams split, hoping to avoid that on Monday.

“I think it was a few years ago, but I reminded them of a (doubleheader) where Au Gres beat us in game one and we beat them in game two,” Karsten said. “It wasn’t meant to be today. Sometimes you can do everything right and it’s still not enough.”

Au Gres scored three runs in each of the first two innings and lead 7-4 after four innings. Posen scored a run in each of the first four innings, but Au Gres squashed any hopes for a rally with six more runs in the top of the sixth.

Karsten praised Au Gres’ lineup, specifically the top of the lineup. Au Gres’ first four batters accounted for six hits, seven RBI and eight runs scored in the second game.

“They definitely put the ball in play and have some good hitters, especially at the top of their lineup,” Karsten said.

Ciarkowski, Kamyszek and Romel each had a hit for Posen. Kamyszek had an RBI double in the first inning and Romel singled to score Stone in the third inning. Stone scored Wesner on a fielder’s choice in the fourth inning.

Posen plays at Johannesburg-Lewiston on Tuesday.