by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Olivia Wolters made her first conference pitching start and delivered a three-hitter as Elk River downed Blaine 3-1 on Tuesday in Blaine.
Elks’ ace Anna Pipenhagen, nursing an injured little finger on her pitching hand, went 3-for-4 at the plate while the sophomore Wolters took her place on the mound.
“Anna will still be playing, just taking a game off (pitching) here and there, and giving Olivia some innings,” said coach Stacey Sheetz. “Olivia has good speed and a great mix of pitches.”
Wolters had a five-inning no-hitter against Minneapolis Washburn at the Richfield tournament in her only other start. She struggled with her control at Blaine, walking six, but struck out eight, and left nine Bengals on base.
Pipenhagen was 7-0 with two earned runs allowed in 41 innings but since breaking her pinkie has given up eight earned runs and two homers in her last two starts (a win and loss).
While the mishap seems to affect her pitching, it hasn’t hurt her at the plate. Pipenhagen is 5-for-6 plus two walks the last two games and leads the team with a .645 average (20-for-31).
Michaela Bruns was 3-for-4, and Wolters and Jayme Langbehn each had a hit and an RBI, as the Elks totaled 10 hits against Liz Mortenson.
The Elks, 6-1 in the NWSC and 10-1 overall, will host Centennial on Wednesday.