May 4, 2024 | By: Lakeland News

Brainerd Softball Off to Blistering Start This Season

In 2022, Brainerd softball fell one game short of a perfect season and a Class AAAA state title, and last year, they fell just short of their goal of making it back to the state tournament.

But this year, the Warriors have not let off the gas, winning 11 of the first 12 games for the third straight season in pursuit of winning that elusive state title. The team is now setting the table for success as they enter the back half of their schedule.

Some of the main cogs to Brainerd softball’s hot start thus far have been the little things, which ignited Tuesday’s walk-off win over St. Cloud Crush.

“Autumn [Larson] is one of our power hitters and just to get a bunt down to win the game, everybody needs to be able to do that,” said captain Elsa Borchert. “And that’s how we do win games is just by doing the little things.”

Good communication is translating to improved defense for the Warriors.

“Just being like, ‘Oh, we need to turn a double play,’ and ‘Oh, we need to go to this base,’ just talking to each other and helping each other up and being like, ‘Oh, if you mess up, that’s okay,'” explained captain Maren Ceynowa. “Like, you need to move on and there’s still game left to play.”

And Mya Tautges, who’s been the table setter for the Warriors, has amassed 105 strikeouts on the mound in a .500 batting average at the dish.

“Her pitching skills are absolutely incredible, and you can easily trust her on where she’s going with her pitch,” stated captain Lacy Busch. “And she’s very good at communicating with everyone just in case she sees anything change. She can definitely tell you where to go. In her hitting, she can do anything. She can slap, bunt, home runs. She’s definitely very important and [I’m] glad she’s our lead-off.”

And the team is following Mya’s example as well, allowing only two runs per game while posting several runs on the board a game. However, the girls still feel there’s room for improvement, especially at the plate.

“We just need to work on contact,” said Busch. “We can’t be scared of the ball, especially with a bunt. Some girls get too scared to put down a bunt so they decide to pull back. I would just say having more contact with the ball would make us a lot more powerful and strong.”

But the girls know it’ll take time and are committed to putting in the work.

“We’re getting there. We’re trying to learn from our mistakes in the first season,” said Tautges. “Like, what pitches to swing at? Like, what pitches we have to see, what pitches want to hit. We know we can make the plays. We just have to have the confidence to do so.”

After collecting win number 11 on Friday against Anoka, Brainerd will get right on it Monday when they play Blaine at the College of Saint Benedict. The Warriors are currently ranked 9th in the state in Class AAAA.

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