Sophomore strikes out 17 straight EVW batters
BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Bria Majeski’s simple plan almost worked to perfection when the Rockford softball pitcher faced Eden Valley-Watkins last Thursday. She struck out 17 straight batters in the 6-0 shutout victory.
“When I got to the 12th batter I thought maybe I should give it my whole focus a little more,” said Majeski about the hope of a no-hitter or of striking out all 21 batters. The string of strikeouts ended on an error and she allowed two hits in the seventh.
The sophomore said she had the same routine most of the game, throwing a curve ball, which cuts to the outside corner, and then a screw ball that moves to the inside corner towards the hands. Majeski finished off hitters with a rise ball.
She does not mind if batters know what is coming. Much of the time she just tells her catcher east or west, saying what pitch is coming. Majeski used the same strategy when pitching a one-hitter against Cooper two days later.
Majeski almost had a perfect game last year against Kimball when she also gave up two hits. It was the same double header when her sister Alex did pitch a perfect game. Bria said she came close to no-hitters several times with her summer elite team.
Pitching all year long, Majeski said the experience has helped along with working with pitching coach Angie Rechnor, a former U of M standout.
“She encourages me to throw a lot of junk pitchers and I don’t use a fast ball unless I absolutely have to,” said Majeski. “Last year I kept trying to change my delivery of my curve and screw ball, but this year I got it figured out and I feel pretty comfortable out there.”
The sophomore already has experience pitching in a state tournament. She pitched the first two games when the Rockets finished fourth a year ago. Majeski has worked hard on her game ever since.
“I do not want to be a one-hit wonder,” said Majeski after a standout ninth-grade season of pitching. “I practice most every day all year long. It helps that we have a pitching area in our basement at home.”
Rockford had a busy last week, going 4-2, improving to 7-2 overall. The week started with an 8-4 loss to Maple Lake. In the first game of a double header with EVW, Majeski helped the offense with two doubles.
EVW pulled out the back and forth second game 12-11 in eight innings. Sophomore Allison McNeal started on the mound. Rockford had two runners on in the bottom of the eighth but could not muster another hit.
Saturday’s Rockford tournament was moved to Corcoran because of the muddy road and parking lot. The Rockets won all three games, defeating Cooper 7-0, Bemidji 5-3 and Washburn 7-2.
Majeski pitched the shutout against Cooper, allowing one hit with 12 strikeouts. Megan Westrup and Hannah Carlson both had two hits while everyone else at one.
Rockford had six stolen bases against Bemidji. Allison McNeal pitched the first four innings, allowing one earned run. Majeski worked the fifth and the game was called on the time limit. The Rockets scored four runs in fifth inning when Carlson and Anya Cady both had two steals.
McNeal pitched the first three frames against Washburn. Majeski worked the last four innings, allowing no hits and struck out 11 of the 12 batters.
Rockford trailed 2-0 before scoring six runs in the fourth inning, powered by six straight hits. Kaylee Schumacher and Caitlin McNeal both had doubles in the rally. In the game Megan Bode and McKenzy Belanger both had two hits.
“These were good games for us,” notes coach Dawn Engebretson about the tournament. “It is fun to be pushed and work hard against these good teams.”
Weather permitting, Rockford is home against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Thursday, May 1, at Kimball Monday, May 5, at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Tuesday, May 6 and at Pierz May 8.