Spring has sprung — finally

It took about three weeks longer than normal and more than a month longer than last year but spring finally arrived last week. The lingering snow melted early in the week and fields dried out enough to allow the high school spring sports season to begin in earnest later in the week.

Here’s a whip-around look at some of the prep teams from Roseville Area High School and Concordia Academy and their season-opening week:

RAHS fastpitch

The Raiders got their season off to a rousing start with a show of offensive force last Thursday. Roseville swept a doubleheader at Cretin-Derham Hall with wins of 13-5 and 9-4.

In game one, Cretin opened the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the second but Roseville responded in the third with 10 runs of its own. Roseville also added single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh.

Freshman Toni Bishop led the hit parade with three (a double and two singles) of Roseville’s 12 hits and added a pair runs batted in. Junior Maria Ascher drove in a team-high three runs and one of her two hits was a triple.

Whitney Manning and Emmy Hylen also drove in a pair of runs each and Hylen’s two hits were both doubles.

Hylen also did some work in the circle by throwing a complete-game six-hitter. She also walked four but struck out nine.

Game two was more of the same at the plate but this time Roseville used the long ball. Half of the Raiders’ eight hits were home runs.

Aryka Knoche got the barrage started with a two-run home run in the first inning. Hylen got her first homer of the game in third and added another in the fifth. Whitney Manning also went deep in the fifth for Roseville.

Hylen finished with five RBI and was one of three Roseville batters with two hits in the game. The others were Manning and Ascher.

In addition to her home run, Knoche also contributed as Roseville’s pitcher. She gave up four runs, three of them earned, on 10 hits and three walks and recorded one strike out.

Doubleheaders will be the norm for Roseville and the rest of the Suburban East Conference this spring. All of the SEC teams will get their conference schedule completed by playing nine doubleheaders each.

Roseville has four doubleheaders this week, including at home on Tuesday against Park and on Wednesday against White Bear Lake. The Raiders play Thursday at Woodbury.

RAHS baseball

The Raiders opened their season on Saturday morning at home but they were the visiting team on the scoreboard. The game was supposed to be played at Woodbury but was moved to Roseville’s home diamond.

Roseville took a lead into the seventh inning but couldn’t close out the victory. Woodbury scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to pick up a 5-3 victory.

As expected because of all the postponements through the first three weeks of the season, doubleheaders are popping on up revamped schedules. Roseville has five on its schedule, including a pair against Stillwater this week.

In addition to the double dip, Roseville travels to Park-Cottage Grove on Wednesday and hosts Woodbury and Park on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Concordia Academy baseball

The Beacons kicked off their season on Saturday but things didn’t go all that well. St. Croix Lutheran handed Concordia a 10-2 loss.

Despite the loss, Concordia head coach Eric Schutte expects his team’s strengths to be pitching and defense. The Beacons return their top two pitchers from last year in juniors John Holleran and Brock Thompson. Holleran posted a 2.30 earned-run average in 2012 while Thompson’s ERA was at 2.89 with 28 strikeouts.

“They will not overpower anyone but keep batters off-balance with their change of speed and location,” Schutte said.

Schutte also feels his team should be able to field the ball.

“With six weeks in the gym, we have really worked on fundamentals and are farther ahead of previous years,” said Schutte. “I have been impressed with the work ethic the players have shown despite being stuck inside and not playing any games for such a long period of time.”

Offensively, Concordia will lean on seniors Matt Cramer and Alex Galloway. Cramer, an all-conference selection in 2012, batted .414 and posted an on-base percentage of .573. Galloway hit .300 last spring.

Concordia has had five non-conference games postponed and Schutte is unsure whether they will be rescheduled. The priority is to play as many Tri-Metro Conference games as possible and sprinkle in non-conference games if possible.

One thing that will help with rescheduling is that Section 4AA has moved the beginning of the playoffs from May 20 to May 24. That will allow teams to use those days to make up previously postponed contests.

Concordia’s schedule this week features four games, including home games on Tuesday and Friday against St. Paul Academy and Breck, respectively. The Beacons also play on the road against St. Agnes on Friday.

Concordia fastpitch

The Beacons played once last week. It was the third different date on which the game was scheduled.

Unfortunately, the wait might not have been worth as Concordia lost 6-0 to Benilde-St. Margaret’s. The original date for the game was April 8 but too much snow forced a move to April 20. Both teams were ready to play that day and so was the field at Benilde-St. Margaret’s but the temperatures didn’t cooperate.

The Benilde game is one of four non-conference contests that Concordia hopes to get played this spring. The others on the schedule are part of a tournament in St. Louis Park on May 11.

The rest of the Beacons’ schedule consists of 11 Tri-Metro Conference games, including at St. Anthony on Tuesday, at St. Agnes on Wednesday and home against Minnehaha Academy on Thursday.

Saturday will be an interesting day also as Concordia hosts Providence Academy at 11:30 a.m. and then travels to Blake for a 3 p.m. tilt.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com

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