Despite Lopsided Loss on Tuesday West Branch Coach Reisinger Has Lots to Like in First Season

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

WEST BRANCH – Nine games into his first season leading the West Branch softball program Shannon Reisinger likes what he has seen from his team.

There just wasn’t a lot for Reisinger to like about game number 10.

Monticello scored 12 unanswered runs over the final four innings to earn a 14-2 win over West Branch on Tuesday in a River Valley Conference cross-divisional matchup in West Branch.

West Branch committed three of its four errors in the first two innings leading to three unearned runs for Monticello and a hole the Bears could never fully crawl out of.

“We can’t have that many errors and win a game, no team can have that many errors and win a game,” Reisinger said. “We put too many people on base and they just kept moving them around and we couldn’t finish.”

Tuesday was tough for the Bears but the 14-2 loss on the heels of a come-from-behind 8-7 win on Monday at Calamus-Wheatland didn’t discourage Reisinger.

West Branch us 6-4 under its first-year head coach and dropped to 2-1 in RVC play with the loss to the Panthers on Tuesday.

The Bears finished 15-23 a year ago.

"We played a really good game last night we were down five in the seventh and scored five in the top of the seventh and ended up winning the game so I have seen them do really good things and then tonight we didn’t start off very well,” Reisinger said. “It’s being consistent right now and just making the plays that we have to make and we are still getting that process going but I think we are on our way.”

The first two Monticello batters reached on errors and came around to score on a the first of four singles by Panthers cleanup hitter Lauren Ries.

West Branch evened the game at 2-2 with three first-inning doubles.

Taylor Thein lined a one-out double in the right-center field gap and Kaiya Luneckas and Mackenzie Heise each followed with RBI doubles to tie the score at 2-2.

That is all the offense West Branch would mount.

Monticello senior Caitlin Cruise retired 13 of the final 16 batters she faced allowing just singles to Heise, Lexie Peak and Nicki Henson over the final four innings.

“At times our girls are really pounding the ball and then we kind of go quiet a little bit and then we start pounding the ball again,” Reisinger said. “They’ve got that potential we are just trying to get off that rollercoaster and have good at bats all the time.”

Meanwhile the Monticello bats kept rolling, hammering out 11 hits over the final four innings.

Cruise had the blow that broke the game wide open, a two-run home run in a five-run Panther fourth that made the score 11-2.

Luneckas took the loss for West Branch allowing 11 runs on eight hits while striking out five while walking one.

Reisinger came to West Branch after spending three seasons in assistant stints at Mount Vernon and most recently Cedar Rapids Prairie.

He spent nine seasons as the head coach at West Marshall.

Just three weeks into his first year at West Branch he can see potential.

“I know they know how to play the game it’s just bringing it all together is tough for a new coach,” Reisinger said. “These kids have been great to work with.”

Monticello                  213  53  –  14  12  0

West Branch              200  00  –   2    6   4

W – Caitlin Cruise      L – Kaiya Luneckas

2B – WB:  Taylor Thein, Mackenzie Heise, Kaiya Luneckas; MON: Sydney Hansen, Aspen Gilmore, Tori McDonald

3B – MON: Taylor McDonald

HR – MON: Caitlin Cruise