by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The main idea behind scheduling a night game for Elk River high school softball was give more people a chance to see the Elks play.
That plan certainly worked as about 200 people ringed the field Friday night for the first-ever Elk night game, and they saw the home team beat the Osseo Orioles 13-5.
“This was a fun day today,” said coach Stacy Sheetz. “We are probably going to make this a tradition ever year.”
There were actually four games — junior high, B squad, JV, and varsity last, under the lights at 7:30 p.m. The Elks were able to win all four.
“I thought it was exciting, and fun,” said Elk pitcher Moriah Bruns, adding that she likes the normal 4:15 p.m. start fine and a night game is “OK if it’s just every once in a while.”
The event also included Youth Night, a raffle, and prizes for trivia questions.
Kaitlyn Roche, Elk centerfielder who had three hits, liked playing for the crowd.
“I wish we could have done this previous years, too,” said the four-year starter.
Some of the parents who can’t see the team play in the late afternoon due to their work schedules were able to watch a game for the first time.
The game, despite the score, was close until the last of the sixth, when the Elks broke a 5-5 tie by scoring eight runs after two were out. The go-ahead scored when Oriole reliever Sophie Crandase hit Michaela Bruns with bases loaded. Dani Edwards followed with a two-run single. Osseo had some fielding lapses as the rally continued. Roche capped it off by drilling a two-run triple to deep right field, then scoring on a wild pitch.
The Elks (11-4 overall) have won five straight games, and at 9-3 in the NWSC are right in the race with Park Center (9-2), Coon Rapids (9-2) and Centennial (7-2).
Roche was 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI. Moriah Bruns was 3-for-4 with two RBI while pitching seven innings, giving up six hits and one walk. Courtney Jensen was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Michaela Bruns had an RBI double along with her RBI on the hit-by-pitch.
For Osseo (3-6), Kaylen Sorensen smacked a home run in the sixth that tied the game 5-5. Courtney Collins pitched the first five innings, giving up five runs and nine hits.
The Elks will host Blaine on Monday.