By Gary Larson
Mille Lacs County Times
Milaca senior right-hander Ashley Johnson notched a career-high 17 strikeouts as the Wolves stopped Foley 5-4 Thursday afternoon, April 12, at Sod Park in Milaca.
Johnson pitched a four-hitter and walked four as she recorded her second victory of the season in the Granite Ridge Conference game. She had 11 strikeouts in the Wolves’ season-opening GRC 8-7 win over Zimmerman Tuesday, April 10, also at Sod Park.
“Ashley is picking up where she left off last season,” said Milaca Coach Randy Johnson. “She has been very sharp.
“And, we’ve been able to support her with enough runs and good defense.”
Foley led 3-0 before Milaca moved ahead 4-3 with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning and three more in the sixth. The Falcons tied the game with a run in the seventh but the Wolves pulled out the victory with a run in their half of the inning.
Milaca pounded 12 hits.
Ninth-grader Kristina Loegering went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while senior Jessica Sikkink was 3-3 with two doubles and a single. Sikkink drove in two runs and scored two runs.
Johnson aided her cause by notching a pair of singles. Senior Anna Swanson had a single, drove in a run and scored a run while junior Sara Warren had a single and made a running catch in right field to take away an extra-base hit.
Neither team had an error.
“It was a good victory,” said coach Johnson.
Against Zimmerman in the season opener, the Wolves trailed 7-5 before rallying for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Johnson pitched the distance, allowing eight hits and seven walks while striking out seven.
Milaca had a 13-8 edge in hits.
Junior Sadie Hunt went 3-5 with a triple, sophomore Natalie Bernard was 3-4 with two doubles and senior Kymee Nelsen was 3-5 as she drove in a pair of runs.
Warren, who was 2-2 with two singles, drove in the winning run with a two-out single in the seventh inning.
“We’ve had two exciting victories, both under pressure,” said coach Johnson.
Milaca, which hosted Mora Tuesday, travels to Princeton today (Thursday) for a GRC game at 5 p.m., then continues conference play by hosting St. Cloud Cathedral Friday at 5.
The Wolves are at the Little Falls Invitational Saturday.