Lauren Madetzke struck out 12 in her Opening Day stint on the mound for the Blue Earth Area softball team on Thursday night, but 12 walks from Worthington helped the Trojans top the Buccaneers, 10-4, to start the 2017 season.
Madetzke, BEA's lone freshman and a projected leader atop the maroon and gold's rotation entering the season, limited Section 2AAA's Worthington to one run through the first two innings at the 14th Street Fields, but a slew of walks and bases-loaded hits from the opponents in the third inning handed the Bucs a deficit just too sizable to overcome.
And still, for BEA coach Abby Bloomquist, Thursday's bout was a promising kickoff for a team boasting new faces up and down the lineup.
Adali Trujillo takes a pitch during the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers’ 10-4 loss to Worthington on
Thursday, April 6.
"Despite the loss of our season opener," Bloomquist said, "the silver lining is that we know we can play much better than we did."
Bloomquist spoke before the season about emphasizing balance in 2017 having the club's young aces, like Madetzke, work off support from a semi-rebuilt offense.
And after Thursday's six-run defeat at the hands of Worthington, the team's focus will return to maintaining balance.
"As a team, we have a lot to offer that didn't all click (Thursday)," said Bloomquist. "We saw a few bats light up and had a handful of impressive defensive plays ... (and) all in all, I'm excited to have that first game under our belt."
Outside of Worthington's 11 walks, in fact, the Buccaneers did their best impression of a team capable of topping the Trojans a feat the maroon and gold last accomplished on May 6 of the 2016 campaign.
A third-inning rally pulled the Buccaneers within one run of their visiting foes, and strikeouts from Madetzke helped strand additional Worthington base runners in the middle frames of the contest.
Madetzke went all seven innings for BEA on the hill, surrendering just five hits to go along with her double-digit strikeout total. From the plate, she also drove in one of the Bucs' four runs.
Leading the way on offense was sophomore Adri Granillo, who reached base twice with a walk and stand-up triple and also scored on a teammate's RBI groundout.
Senior Grace Leland drove in a run and scored another, while junior Jerica Wolf and sophomore Carla Leyva were also credited with RBIs in the game. Senior Emily Johnson scored for the Bucs as well.
Looking to rebound from their 10-4 Opening Day loss, the Buccaneers will head to the St. James Fairgrounds to take on St. James in a 5:30 p.m. matchup on Monday, April 10, then face off with New Ulm at Harman Park the following day at 5:30 p.m.