Growth spurt: Young Rebels open with a statement win over Bulldogs

Published 7:57 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

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ROSE CREEK – The Southland softball team had plenty to be nervous about in its season opener as the Rebels have a young roster, with big goals while starting an eighth grader in the circle.

However, those nerves disappeared quickly as Southland took an early lead and went on to beat GMLOK 5-2 in Rose Creek Monday.

The Rebels (1-0 overall) mustered just two hits in the win, but eighth grader Laney Weiss struck out 14, while allowing just two hits. The Southland defense committed only one error.

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Weiss had limited varsity experience last season, but she’s entering this season as the team’s ace and her grandpa Tom Clements is the team’s new head coach.

“We hadn’t been out in awhile and my confidence came as the game went on today,” Weiss said. “There is pressure going from the younger ages to playing at a higher level, especially with my grandpa coaching. He has a high standard.”

Weiss knocked in a run on a groundout to give Southland a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but GMLOK tied the game at 2-2 in the third. Southland took the lead for good in the bottom of the third when Abby Sorgatz hit a sacrifice fly and Bria Nelsen scored on a wild pitch.

Sorgatz, a sophomore, had the most success at the plate for Southland as she finished with a double and two RBIs.

“It takes a lot of time (to get the bats going). We haven’t hit much off of live pitching yet,” Sorgatz said. “Defensively, it takes a lot of time. We haven’t hit much off of live pitching yet.”

Clements sees a lot of room for growth with his team and beating the Bulldogs (0-1 overall) is a great kick start to get things going.

“We swung at some pitches that I teach them not to swing at, but it’s the first game of the year and I was really proud of them,” Clements said. “(GMLOKS) is the defending conference champion until someone dethrones them and that’s our plan. You have to get one win before you can win it.”

The game was played in unseasonably warm temperatures as it was in the mid 70s from start to finish. Some players thought it was a little warm and Clements wished he would’ve dressed a little differently.

“It was absolutely gorgeous out today and I wish I would’ve worn shorts,” said Clements. “About the only drawback to the day was that I didn’t have shorts on.”

GMLOK 002  000  0  –  2  2  1

Southland 202  001  X –  5  2  1

Southland pitching: Laney Weis (W) 7 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 14 K

Southland hitting: Bria Nelsen, 0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BBs; Laney Weis, 0-for-2, R, SB, 2 BBs; Shannon Kiefer, 1-for-3, R, SB; Riana Ulven, 0-for-1, SB; Abby Sorgatz, 1-for-2, double, 2 RBIs; Juliette Matheis, 0-for-2, BB; Haley Lowe, 0-for-2, BB; Maren Wehrenberg, 0-for-3; Jaida Sorenson, 0-for-2, SB, R, BB; Grace Kresbach, SB

GMLOK pitching: Aspen Kolling (L) 6 IP, 2 H, 5 BB, 5 R, 4 ER, 7 K