FARMINGTON – Freshman pitcher Alyssa Sago scattered four hits and struck out five St. Charles batters in the first Mineral Area home softball game of the season on Thursday.
The former three-sport standout at Bismarck High School cruised through the second and third innings, and carried a shutout bid into the fifth for a chilly 9-1 victory to highlight a doubleheader split.
Stacy Politte paced Mineral Area (2-4) by finishing 2-for-2 with four RBI, including a three-run double that created a 6-0 lead in the third inning.
Madison Binkard drove in a run with a double in the first, and was also perfect on two at-bats by loading the bases with a single prior to Politte’s big hit.
Abby Bahr capped scoring for the Lady Cardinals by launching the first pitch she saw in the fourth inning for a two-run home run to straight-away center field. The umpires initially ruled a ground-rule double after thinking the ball had bounced over the flexible fence, but Cougars center fielder Meagan Day confirmed that it had cleared on the fly.
Karlie Missey singled twice for Mineral Area. RikkiLyn Wright posted her lone hit in the bottom of the first inning when a line drive made solid impact off the knee of pitcher Kirsten Schrick.
Schrick allowed 10 hits through four innings in the circle, but earned the lone extra-base hit for St. Charles with a double in the fifth. Caitlyn Brombolich drove her in moments later with a single for their team's lone run.
Politte created a 3-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single, but was thrown out at second trying to stretch for a double.
Sara Hebisen went 1-for-2 for the Cougars, and Day bunted for a hit.
Aubrie Venegas added a single for the Lady Cardinals.
Mineral Area recorded 10 hits in back-to-back contests, but struggled to limit an energetic St. Charles offense during game two.
Day finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI to help the Cougars secure a 7-2 triumph. Kaleigh Robinson contributed a single on each of her three at-bats, and twirled a complete game for the win.
Day led off the game with a double along the left-field line, then was later singled in by Brombolich to gain a 1-0 lead. Brombolich added another hit in the top of the sixth.
Haylee Shinabargar stretched the advantage to 4-0 in the fifth inning on an RBI double that carried to the left-field fence. She scored on a single into shallow center by next batter Bridget Hart.
Binkard drove in the first run for the Lady Cardinals during the home half of the fifth on a single to left field. Kati McCormack narrowed the gap within 5-2 on an RBI double to deep center.
Politte went 2-for-2 for the Lady Cardinals, and Abby Bahr ended 2-for-3. Wright and Venegas each provided a single on their first trips to the plate, while Sago notched a hit in the fourth inning.
Alyssa Rennick allowed nine hits and fanned three through 3 1/3 innings of relief for Mineral Area. Summer Maxwell started and surrendered three runs on five hits.
McCormack recorded one strikeout during a hitless final frame for the Lady Cardinals.
Katie Fozzard and Alexis Hemsath each recorded singles for St. Charles.
Mineral Area will travel to Joplin, Mo. to participate in the Crowder Bash with six scheduled games this weekend.