Softball: Thunder blank Flyers 2-0, have won 3 in row

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Look who’s riding a three-game win streak — the Zimmerman softball team after their 2-0 conquest of Little Falls on Thursday.

“That’s three in a row. The girls spirits are up! They are very excited,” said coach Emily Zahn, whose very young lineup includes eighth-graders at pitcher and shortstop, and a freshman who got the big hit at Little Falls.

Ashley Pool, shown here during a win over Foley on Tuesday, threw a shutout against Little Falls on Thursday in her third straight win. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

Zimmerman was 1-13 before beating Minneapolis Southwest 4-2 on Saturday, Foley 7-2 Tuesday and now Little Falls, a good team (10-7) who beat the Thunder 7-2 on April 20. The Thunder are now 3-7 in the Granite Ridge and 4-13 overall.

Eighth-grader Ashley Pool threw a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and one walk. Pool has pitched the distance in all three wins, allowing just five hits and two runs in 18 innings (the Southwest game was rain-shortened).

Pool also started the Thunder’s two-run third with a double. After Bailey Bircher-Keymes bunted for a hit, freshman outfielder Ashley Ryding stroked a single that plated both runs.

“The kids are starting to get comfortable and are learning their spots (positions),” said Zahn, adding that she stuck an eighth-grader, Carli Lage, at shortstop.  “There was a lot of pressure on them coming up and playing varsity.”

The Thunder, who have no seniors but five juniors, will try to keep it going at Monticello on Friday.