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Published May 25 2010

Minnesota girls softball: Limping into playoffs, Hawley loses 2 big hitters in Jessica Horn, Allie Sannes with injuries

Hawley’s softball team prides itself on a loaded lineup where everybody hits.

That depth will be tested in the playoffs as two of the Nuggets’ top hitters were knocked out for the season last week.

If Hawley wants to get back to state, it will have to do it without Jessica Horn and Allie Sannes.

“When you lose two players like that right before playoffs, it’s not good,” Hawley coach Anita Heier said. “But the kids aren’t worried. They know we have a solid team.”

The injuries happened against Breckenridge, and they happened on back-to-back plays.

Horn broke her wrist in an awkward play at the plate to end an inning. On the first play of the following inning, first baseman Sannes badly pulled her hamstring stretching to catch a ball.

“(Sannes) went into the splits to make a play, and it’s something she’s done 100 times before, only this time she pulled something,” Heier said. “And (Horn’s) injury just happened kind of awkwardly.

“They were just trying to make plays.”

Horn was the team’s No. 3 hitter in the lineup, and Sannes as the No. 5 hitter. They were hitting .419 and .361, respectively.

“It’s going to be difficult any time you lose your first baseman and third baseman,” said Jordan Iverson, the Nuggets’ leading hitter at .432. “But we’re taking this as just another challenge.

“We’re going to have to cope with it the best we can.”

The Nuggets are used to coping on the softball diamond by hogging all of the runs.

Hawley is 14-1 on the season, and has scored double-digit run totals eight times. The Nuggets have also shut out their opponents eight times.

The Noreen family is responsible for the pitching dominance. Sisters Jessy and Jody Noreen have pitched every inning of the season for the Nuggets.

Jessy, a sophomore, is 9-1 with a l71 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings pitched. Seventh-grader Jody is 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 27 2/3 innings pitched.

“We have been able to score a lot of runs, but we’re not giving up a lot, either,” Heier said. “Those two have been great, and we’ve been pretty good defensively, too.”

The Nuggets made it to the state tournament last season for the first time in school history, and the goal for this season was a return trip.

No Horn and no Sannes doesn’t help, but Iverson said the team hasn’t lowered its sights.

“We still have a good team, and we have a good program,” Iverson said. “We’re confident in the people we can put out there, and we’re going to push to get back.

“We want to get back to state and win some games there.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548