Wild wins keep Rangers perfect

No-hitter highlights five-win week

Clint Riese
Sports Editor

The Rangers have emerged unscathed from another wild week of softball. They have swept through the first round of Suburban East Conference play and sit at 9-0.

Pitcher Michelle LaCasse shares a smile with third baseman Dana Mogren during Monday’s win over White Bear Lake. The junior tossed a no-hitter at Park last Wednesday. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Five of those wins came in a seven-day stretch from last Tuesday to this Monday. They included two one-run games, an extra-innings contest and a no-hitter.

Rangers 7, Bears 4

Most recently, Forest Lake took down White Bear Lake 7-4 at home on Monday.

Junior catcher Jenn Zidar kept up a torrid hot streak by going 4-4 with four RBI, including a two-run homer in the first inning.

The Bears responded with three runs off Michelle LaCasse in the top of the second, but Forest Lake stormed back with four runs in the third. Natalie Wright and Dana Mogren walked to open the frame and Zidar singled up the middle to tie the game. After pinch runner Lauren Riedeman stole second, poor fielding on the next play allowed Forest Lake to take the lead for good. Micah McGuiness hit a grounder to third, and the fielder threw home too late to get Mogren. The catcher then relayed the ball to second base but no one was on the other end and Riedeman came around to score off the error. Mikayla Watters followed with a double to make it 6-3.

In the sixth, the Bears trimmed the lead to two but Zidar answered with an RBI single making it 7-4.

Watters finished with three doubles and an RBI. On the mound, McGuiness picked up her sixth win. In relief, she allowed one unearned run and four hits over 5.1 innings.

“Today, LaCasse was the one in trouble and Micah picked Michelle up whereas Saturday was the opposite scenario,” coach Angie Ryan said. “It’s fun to see the team picking each other up and continuing to play so well.”

Rangers 10, Ponies 6 (10 inn.)

The Rangers returned from Stillwater victorious after a 10-inning thriller on Saturday. They trailed 6-4 down to two outs in the seventh inning, but rallied. Wright singled with one out and stole second base, leading to an intentional walk to Dana Mogren. Zidar then ripped a shot to the fence to tie the game.

Emily Lindstrom and Shannon Nelson led off the top of the 10th with back-to-back singles, and Wright singled on a bunt to load the bases. Zidar earned a walk to plate the go-ahead run, and Andrea Mogren singled to score two more. McGuiness doubled to make it 10-6 and LaCasse turned the Ponies away in the bottom of the inning.

LaCasse pitched the final eight innings and allowed three runs on just three hits and a pair of walks. Zidar went 3-5 with four RBI. Wright and Lindstrom each had three hits and combined to score five runs.

Stillwater held leads of 3-0, 4-3 and 6-4.

“This was an extremely exciting game,” Ryan said. “It was back and forth throughout…I definitely love that our players are able to believe in one another and in themselves in these clutch situations, but it is getting quite stressful for the coaches.”

Rangers 2, Raiders 1

Roseville held a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning here last Friday, but a one-out rally gave Forest Lake a 2-1 victory.

Nelson started things with an infield single, and Wright followed by punching the ball to left-center. The runners advanced to second and third on a sacrifice fly, then Zidar drilled a single to left.

The Raiders put the tying run on second base in the seventh, but McGuiness closed out the complete-game win. She struck out eight.

Each team tallied just three hits. Roseville’s hurler, Emma Hylen, kept the Rangers in check with a rise ball most of the night.

“She is definitely the strongest pitcher we’ve seen up to this point,” Ryan said. “It was great to see our hitters adjust and get on top of the ball as we had been underneath her rise ball all game. I love to see that competitiveness come out of our kids and that refusal to lose.”

Rangers 5, Wolfpack 0

LaCasse, a junior, threw a no-hitter to lead Forest Lake to a 5-0 win at Park last Wednesday.

“It was fun to see Michelle do so well and keep the Park hitters off balance,” Ryan said. “She threw hard inside a lot and they weren’t able to turn on it, so she jammed many of the hitters.”

McGuiness hit a two-run double and Wright and Dana Mogren had RBI singles as the Rangers scored all five runs in the second inning.

Rangers 3, Mustangs 2

Last Tuesday saw Forest Lake walk off with a 3-2 win over Mounds View. The Rangers trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning.

Ninth-grader Bailey Armstrong started the rally with a single. She had just been called up to varsity after hitting five home runs for the ninth-grade team and B squad three days earlier. Maggie Forsell followed with a bloop single. After Andrea Mogren walked to load the bases, Wright hit a one-out sacrifice fly to tie the game. Dana Mogren ended it with a great at-bat featuring several fouls on a full count. Eventually, she drove the ball up the middle and pinch runner Jenny Bracht scored from second base.

McGuiness allowed seven hits and no earned runs. All seven of Forest Lake’s hits came from different players.

Full slate

The schedule remains full as SEC play continues. The Rangers hosted Woodbury this Wednesday and play at East Ridge today (April 26). They host Cretin-Derham Hall next Monday and Hastings next Wednesday.