Position shift: Moving their best player to a new spot has paid off for Awesome Blossoms

Published 6:59 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

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BLOOMING PRAIRIE – In high school sports, if you replace a top player in the lineup, it’s usually because that player graduated or they were injured.

But for Blooming Prairie junior Catelyn Bartlett, the situation is much different. Bartlett, who has moved to shortstop for the Awesome Blossoms this season, gets to stand behind her predecessor every day as BP’s former standout shortstop senior Macy Lembke has moved to pitcher this season.

So far, the move has been great for the Awesome Blossoms as they won their third straight game when they beat Maple River (1-2 overall) 3-2 in BP Thursday.

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Bartlett, who played third base for the BP JV team last spring, had a double on Thursday and she continued to hold her own on defense.

“It’s definitely been hard to follow in Macy’s footsteps,” Bartlett said. “She’s been amazing there over the past years and I’m just trying to learn and get faster. It’s amazing to play with Macy and she’s such a good mentor.”

Lembke delivered her fair share in Thursday’s win as she allowed just three hits and zero earned runs, while going two-for-two, with a walk, three stolen bases and three runs scored.

Lembke is quickly adjusting to life in the circle after playing varsity infield for BP since she was a middle schooler.

“It’s a lot more pressure,” Lembke said. “Last year we had Haven (Carlson) and she pitched almost every game. It’s different, but I’m starting to settle in and enjoy it.”

Rachel Winzenburg and Shawntee Snyder each knocked in a run in the win for BP (3-0 overall) and the Blossoms took the lead for good when Lembke scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth.

BP head coach Cam Rutledge said it was tough to move Lembke from her primary position, but in the end it was what was right for the team. It’s paid off so far as BP has held its last two opponents to just two runs.

“Macy’s been one of the best shortstops, not only in our section and conference, but in Southeastern Minnesota,” Rutledge said. “She’s been one of the best shortstops in the area. For us to take her out of that position was tough, but we knew we had to have a pitcher and putting her there was a pretty easy choice. Catelyn Bartett has really stepped up and played really well at shortstop for us every game. We knew she was capable, but it’s kind of been an over the top surprise with how she’s played.”

The Blossoms may be undefeated, but they still have their best softball ahead of them. Rutledge said the thinks his team will eventually start hitting, as well as playing solid defense and pitching well.

“Coming into the season, I thought offense would be the best part of our game and so far it’s been our worst,” Rutledge said. “I do think we’ll get there and when we do, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

While the bats haven’t started catching up to pitching quite yet, Bartlett said the Blossoms are already developing a winning attitude.

“We don’t give up,” Bartlett said. “We just keep on swinging and we always work as a team.”

Maple River 000  200  0  –  2  4  1

Blooming Prairie 101  010  X  –  3  3  3

BP pitching: Macy Lembke (W) 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 4 K

BP hitting: Lembke, 2-for-2, 3 R, 3 SB; Rachel Winzenburg, 1-for-3, RBI; Shawntee Snyder, 1-for-3, RBI; Lily Schammel, 0-for-3; Layla Lembke,  0-for-3; Ella Smith, 0-for-1, BB; Anna Haberman, BB; Brianna Deplitch, 2 BBs; Catelyn Bartlett, 1-for-3, double; Madelyn Harvey, 0-for-2