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Softball: More at-bats key to Rosemount's improvement at the plate

The Rosemount softball team is struggling offensively, but there are signs things might be starting to turn around.

After scoring just two runs in a span of three games -- all losses -- early last week, the Irish plated five runs in the final two innings of a 5-3 win over St. Paul Academy Saturday afternoon. The team posted three runs on nine hits in Monday's South Suburban Conference home date with Apple Valley, but the Eagles exploded for seven runs in the top of the sixth inning of a 7-3 final at The Cove.

"We only have two girls in the batting order from last year, Melissa Seldon and Summer Lindelien and Summer has been injured for a couple of games now. I have expectations for them, but it's just going to take some time to get everyone going at the same time," Rosemount coach Tiffany Rose said. "We have started to see some girls stepping up."

Among those stepping up on Monday were Kia Henk, Karly Kirchgatter and Anna Hinderaker, who each had two hits. Sarah Jacobs drew a walk to start the fourth inning and scored the game's first run on an error. Hinderacker followed with an RBI single to give the Irish a 2-0 advantage.

Rosemount starter Nichole Johnson cruised through five innings, holding Apple Valley scoreless on four hits, but she was lifted in favor of Gabby Sprang to begin the sixth. Sprang allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits before giving way to Seldon, who allowed four more runs (one earned) on three hits.

"Johnson threw really great," Rose said. "From our experience, when Nichole goes through the lineup for the third time she starts to get hit. We were trying to prevent that from happening."

Instead the Eagles plated seven runs and the Irish got just one back on an RBI double by Henk in the seventh inning.

Seldon got the win Saturday when she scattered eight hits and struck out five while allowing two runs against St. Paul Academy.

The Irish were held scoreless over the first four innings before Grace Longman doubled and scored on a Johnson single in the bottom of the fifth. Hannah Esselman followed with a two-run double to make it 3-1.

Henk broke the game open with a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the sixth.

Sprang allowed one run over the final 1 1/3 innings to record the save.

The Irish hosted Burnsville Wednesday and are back on the road tonight at Lakeville South.