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Sophomore outfielder Tisa Phinney’s home run and freshman Kendra Bowe’s hard-hitting pitches led the St. Thomas softball team to a 7-0, 11-0 sweep in a doubleheader against St. Catherine University Monday, April 23, at home.
The No. 18-ranked Tommies captured their 30th win, a feat they have accomplished for the 13th consecutive season. The team is 17-1 in the MIAC and shares the conference lead with Gustavus Adolphus College.
Freshman Treya Connell started off as the first of three pitchers. Allowing just one single in a three-hit shutout, Connell is now 4-3 in the season.
This was Connell’s first game back since an injury, and coach John Tschida was happy “for her to come back in and pitch pretty well.”
Freshman Kendra Bowe was the next to pitch.
Tschida called Bowe his “No. 1 pitcher,” and said she helped the team get some strikeouts and easy outs.
Junior second baseman Kimmy Hassel, sophomore shortstop Jenna Hoffman and Phinney each had two hits out of the Tommies’ 10.
According to Tschida, Hassel has been the “highlight of the year so far offensively (and) always good on defense.”
Hassel thought the key to her success was “getting timely hits,” but that the game was also very much a group effort.
“It was nice to see the freshmen come in and step up and different pitchers get to pitch,” Hassel said.
Phinney’s two-run homer started the Tommies off strong in the first inning of game two.
Phinney said that she “had a hard time in pregame hitting the ball well” and talked to Tschida before the game started.
“She was having trouble (so) we kind of talked about that…(She) put a lot of work in to be able to hit,” Tschida said.
“I made sure I saw the pitch I wanted exactly,” Phinney said. “I saw it coming and knew that it was going.”
Bowe pitched in game two, but “struggled a little bit, getting her groove back,” Tschida said.
Sophomore Christy Gries pitched the last three innings to get the win.
Tschida said Gries had “good velocity and also had a good change of speed” with three different pitches. “She didn’t give up very many hits.”
The St. Thomas pitchers held the St. Kate’s offense to five hits and no runs in the doubleheader. Tommie pitchers have not allowed a single run in their last 27 innings of play.
The Tommies play their next game Wednesday, April 25, at Macalester College, with the MIAC playoffs looming in the near future.
“Our goal is to get better every day,” Tschida said. “It should be kind of fun to see what the last four games bring.”
Rita Kovtun can be reached at email@example.com.