Christian Liberty drops dome opener
With no signs of the weather cooperating for outside action, Christian Liberty Academy may not play another softball game for a while.
But at least the Chargers got one in on Thursday.
They became the first area team to play this season, dropping a 16-3 decision in 5 innings to Regina at the Rosemont Indoor Dome, a sparkling new facility on the south end of town.
"This is a real nice field," said CLA senior Darby Calkins, who played shortstop and pitched 2 innings. "It's the best I've played on. The turf is a lot softer."
Despite the loss, Calkins was glad the back-to-back Class 1A regional champs were able to start the season.
"We need a lot of practice," she said. "It's our first game and we didn't have our two seniors (Megan Krizanovic and Carly Baric) who graduated, so it was a really big difference. At least we know where we are at for the rest of the season."
The Chargers were at the dome on Thursday thanks to the fourth annual Indoor High School Spring Jamboree directed by Jim Goranson, who is also the Regina softball coach.
"We are really fortunate that the mayor of Rosemont (Bradley Stephens) had the foresight to build this great facility and give us the opportunity to play games here," Goranson said. "People don't know how lucky we are."
Goranson looks lucky to have a pair of freshmen pitchers for the future behind ace Niki Richards (not available Thursday), who pitched every game last season when the Panthers went 12-17.
Regina rookies Emily Herberg and Karlyn Manley combined for a 6-hitter. Another Panthers freshman, Katie Bjerkness, reached base all three times in her varsity debut, scoring twice as the Panthers collected 9 hits in the game.
Top hitters for the Chargers were senior Beth Cunningham and junior Megan Sullivan, who each went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Cleanup hitter and junior first baseman Jenna Pavlik reached base three times, including a first-inning single. Sophomore Jenna West also singled for CLA.
"We haven't had a lot of practice," said Cunningham, who doubled to right-center in the third inning to score senior Sam Karr. "So it was good to get a game like this.
"We were missing two players (Jess Moriarty and Hannah Miller who were on a trip with the French Club) so the good to come out of this was that we had some people get used to playing different positions."
Sullivan started on the mound and finished the game at third base, where she made one of the game's defensive gems.
Regina senior standout catcher Dani Devin, who is getting Division I looks, ripped a grounder down the third-base line.
But Sullivan made a nifty stop and then made the long and accurate throw to Pavlik for the second out of the fifth inning.
"It was great to get out and have a game," said Chargers coach Dave Krizanovic. "I actually thought we played well considering the limited practice time we've had. The girls were still in awe of this whole thing (playing in the dome) but I was really happy for our first game."
Michaela Schukies, Herberg and Claire Conroy each had 2 hits for Regina.
"It's nice to be able to play in the dome," said Devlin, who quickly showed her strong arm when she assisted on the game's first out by throwing out a runner trying to steal second."
"This was a real good starting point. We have a lot of young girls without a lot of varsity experience. It's just a start. We are focusing for the state playoffs."
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