BOBCAT CLASSIC: AGWSR outlasts Lady Norse, 4-3

Whether it was a botched signal, a questionable call, or a mid-game lightning delay, AGWSR co-coach Scott O’Brien’s message for his squad was the same.

Keep playing through it.

The Class 2A No. 7 ranked Cougars weathered all those factors and an early deficit to rally for a 4-3 victory over Roland-Story in six innings Saturday at the Bobcat Softball Classic

Madison Fryslie poked a hit up the middle to plate Becca Wiarda for the game-winning run in the bottom of the fifth as AGWSR came back from a 3-1 deficit.

The Cougars’ first setback came in the bottom of the third when O’Brien accidentally gave Morgan Rose the bunt sign with the bases loaded and no outs. The Lady Norse got the force out at home and followed with a strikeout and another force at third to escape the jam.

“We didn’t want to do that, but that happens,” O’Brien said, taking blame for sending the wrong signal. “Fortunately for us, the girls kept playing through it. They just kept going after it.”

The teams were forced to their dugouts before the fourth as lightning was spotted in the distance. Following the delay, Roland-Story padded its 2-1 lead with another tally as Jesslyn Coghlan’s bloop single to right field drove in Mikenzi Monthei.

Though the Cougars had an answer.

Olivia Ingledue knotted the game with a two-out, two-run single to plate Marissa Roberts and Kristen Zacharias in the fifth. Both runners advanced a base when Ella Frazier reached on an error before Alana Groninga took over for Frazier on the bases.

Groninga was at the center of controversy as the Lady Norse believed Ingledue’s grounder struck her in the foot as she made her way from first to second. Roland-Story catcher Brooke Staker turned to the home plate umpire to argue the call and wasn’t ready for a throw home as Zacharias rounded third with no one ready to receive the throw at the plate.

After a brief discussion, the runs stood as the first base umpire stated he didn’t see Groninga make contact with the ball – offering a timely break for the Cougars, who had a couple earlier calls go against them.

Ashley Sicard didn’t show any sympathy on the Lady Norse batters facing just one batter above the minimum in the final two frames as Katie Kasper connected on a bloop single in the fifth. Sicard replaced starter Addie Johnson in the third and tossed the final four frames allowing one run on four hits with a walk and strikeout. Battling through some back pain, the senior gave the Cougars more than enough from the circle.

“With the heat it helped her loosen up a little bit though I still don’t think she’s anymore than 80 to 85 percent,” O’Brien said. “Eighty-five percent of Ashley is still pretty darn good.”

Johnson gave up two runs on five hits in the first two innings. Roland-Story’s Bryce Holmgren surrendered three runs (one earned) on three hits. She fanned two and walked one in two frames. Roland-Story outhit the Cougars 9-7, but also had two errors.

The Cougars face Grundy Center on the road Monday and host Class 2A No. 9 BCLUW Tuesday.