By Justin Grones (@JustinGrones)
GREEN BAY, WIS. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - In its first action of the 2013 season, the Green Bay women's softball team (0-5) faced stiff competition at the Ramada UNI Dome Tournament held in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Phoenix dropped all four games, but nearly upset No. 1 Alabama, the tournament champions, in Saturday's matchup.
North Dakota State 9, Green Bay 1 (Five innings)
Green Bay faced a tough test to open the 2013 campaign, falling to NDSU in five innings on Friday. The Bison built a 7-0 lead after three innings before Miranda Reinke (Wausau, Wis.) scored when Danielle Peerenboom (Appleton, Wis.) brought her in on a fielder's choice to bring the score to 7-1 in the top of the fourth. NDSU added to the lead when Cheyenne Garcia doubled in two in runs in the bottom half of the inning to bring the score to 9-1.
Freshman Briana Cavin (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) was given the loss after 2 1/3 innings of work, giving up six hits, seven runs and three walks. Cavin (0-1) earned two runs and also struck out two in the effort. NDSU's Krista Menke pitched all five innings for the Bison, finishing with four hits, one earned run, four walks and three strikeouts.
No. 1/1 Alabama 10, Green Bay 7
Facing the reigning National Champions, Green Bay held close with the Crimson Tide before a three-run homer in the top of the seven spoiled the Phoenix's upset attempt. After the Crimson Tide built a 3-0 lead in the top of the first, shortstop Hailey Mohrfeld (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) responded with her first homerun of the season to cut the deficit to 3-1. Alabama had a three-run outing in the top of the second, but again Green Bay kept it close after adding two runs of its own to cut the lead to 6-3.
Both teams scored a run in the fourth inning, but a three-run fifth for the Phoenix tied the game at 7-7. Freshman Kelli Hutchinson (Milwaukee, Wis.) singled up the middle to bring home Reinke, knotting the score. Neither team scored in the sixth, but a three-run homer from Alabama's Keima Davis proved to be the difference in a 10-7 final score.
Mohrfeld finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the game, while Hutchinson went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs as well. Allison Goecks (Beloit, Wis.) pitched all seven innings for the Phoenix and struck out four batters, but picked up the loss while giving up 13 hits, 10 earned runs, and four walks.
UNI 8, Green Bay 2
The Phoenix struck first against host UNI in the third game of the tournament, but the Panthers scored two runs in four separate innings over the course of the game to pick up an 8-2 win. Spangberg went a perfect 2-for-2 in the game with a home run, while Paige Newtols (Green Bay, Wis.) brought home Mohrfeld for the other run of the day.
Lauren Danner (Kaukauna, Wis.) and Ashley Nannemann (Burlington, Wis.) each pitched three innings for the Phoenix with a combined four strikeouts and just one walk. Each gave up four runs with three earned, while Danner (0-1) gave up five hits and Nannemann six.
Illinois 6, Green Bay 3
The Phoenix struck first against the Fighting Illini, but a five-run fourth inning for Illinois was enough to come back and defeat Green Bay. Mohrfeld continued her impressive display at the tournament, finishing 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI in the game.
Green Bay led 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, but five runs from Illinois put the Illini back on top at 6-3. Neither team would score again in the game, sealing the comeback win for Illinois.
Goecks (0-2) was handed the loss after three innings of work on the mound, giving up seven hits, five earned runs and two walks while adding three strikeouts. Cavin also pitched three innings with three hits, an earned run and a strikeout while facing 11 batters.
Drake 5, Green Bay 1
In the final game of the tournament, a tough Drake pitching staff sent Green Bay home with a 5-1 defeat. Drake's Jordan Gronewold and Rebekah Schmidt combined for nine strikeouts and no walks with seven total hits. The lone run of the game for the Phoenix came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Reinke brought home Peerenboom.
Nannemann (0-1) pitched a complete game giving up 10 hits, five runs with four earned, six walks and struck out three.
The Phoenix will be back in action on Friday, March 15 as the team travels to Orlando, Fla. to compete in the 2013 Rebel Spring Games. Over the past three seasons, Green Bay has a combined 26-6 record in the tournament, including an impressive 9-1 outing last season.
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