Hot bats lift Rebel softball

Sports Editor

The Champlin Park softball team entered its game against Wayzata May 3 looking to snap a three-game losing streak.

The Champlin Park softball team surrounds sophomore shortstop Holly Blaska after she blasts a grand slam in the first inning of the Rebels’ 9-3 win over Wayzata May 3. (Sun Post staff photo by Chris Chesky)

The Rebels fell 6-5 to Rice Lake April 22, before falling 9-5 to Elk River April 27, and 6-2 to Spring Lake Park May 2.

“We’re a 5-6 team that could very easily be 8-3,” Champlin Park head softball coach Bryan Woodley said. “We played pretty well in that Rice Lake tournament, but we lost to Rice Lake at the end.

“It’s just a couple things here and there, including cold weather against Elk River. We’re right there, we’re close and competing, we’re battling and we should be there when sections come around.”

The Rebels scored eight runs in the top of the first inning en route to a 9-2 victory over Wayzata May 3.

“It was a well-needed win,” Woodley said. “It came after a couple tough days against Elk River and Spring Lake Park.

“The kids are capable, they just need to be confident and play. When we come out and do our job like we are supposed to, things will take care of themselves.”

Holly Blaska led the Rebels with a five-RBI performance, four of which came on her first career grand slam.

“I was just having fun playing the game,” Blaska said. “I was just trying to do my best for the team.”

Blaska, who also made several key defensive plays at shortstop, impressed her head coach with her performance against Wayzata.

“[Holly] is such a fun kid to watch,” Woodley said. “She has such a passion for softball, she just haves a lot of fun and she can do it all.

“She can hit, she can run, and she can make plays at shortstop. It’s kind of nice to be solid up the middle like that and it’s nice to have that experience from her.”

Brittney Davis and Jordan Johnson each contributed two hits, while Davis stole two bases and Johnson recorded an RBI in the win.

Julia Doran, Piper Otto and Laura Kloeppner also picked up RBIs in the victory.

“I feel pretty good,” Davis said. “This game was a huge confidence booster, so we can only go up from here.”

Champlin Park also got a great pitching performance from senior Taylor Sloat, who rebounded from a two-run first inning to pitch six two-hit innings, allowing only the two runs while walking three and striking out two. Piper Otto came in and pitched a perfect seventh inning.

“[Sloat] did well and if she hits her spots we know she will do just fine,” Woodley said. “She needs to make them hit her pitch, so our defense can do the work, as long as we keep the ball in the park and not walk anybody.”

With five games remaining in the regular season, Woodley believes his team has what it takes to prepare itself to make a run toward the state tournament.

“I’m absolutely confident,” Woodley said. “We have eight seniors on this squad that know how to play, know what to do.

“If they come together like I know they are capable of, then we can play with anybody.”

Champlin Park will play next against Park Center at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Champlin Park High School.

Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.