Huskies edge Cardinals in softball opener, 3-2

Taylor Crissinger

JACKSON — Despite a first-pitch temperature of 39 degrees and a wind chill of one degree below freezing, the Fairmont Cardinals and Jackson County Central Huskies locked up in an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel to open the prep softball season on Thursday.

Knotted at 2-all, Ashley Heinrichs singled and eventually scored the decisive run on a Cardinal error in the bottom of the seventh inning to mush the Huskies to a 3-2 Big South Conference triumph in Jackson.

Fairmont ace right-hander Jordan Ehlert and JCC ace hurler Blaney Johnson each pitched four shutout innings before Taylor Crissinger provided the first offensive highlight of the campaign in the top of the fifth inning.

Ehlert, who produced half of the Cardinals’ six hits, singled and scored on Crissinger’s two-run homer.

The Huskies answered with two runs in the home half of the fifth to tie the game again.

Johnson allowed two runs on six hits and struck out seven in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for JCC.

Ehlert gave up three runs on seven hits in six-plus innings of work to receive the loss for Fairmont. Ehlert notched a game-best eight strikeouts.

Crissinger also generated a single for the Cardinals, while teammate Whitney Scott added a hit.

Fairmont (0-1) plays host to Luverne at 5 p.m. today in another Big South contest.

Kaitlyn Freese tossed a three-hit complete game to help power Fairmont to an 11-4 victory over JCC during season-opening junior varsity action Thursday.

Freese recorded six strikeouts in seven innings of work to net the win.

Emma Gudahl doubled and scored a run for the Cardinals, Jaya Johnson scored three runs, while Kaitlyn Scott and Macey Bearson made solid defensive plays.