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Steele County Times - Staff Photo -

In the offseason, Blooming Prairie softball head coach Cam Rutledge said that his team was going to rely heavily on the pitching of incoming varsity athlete Haven Carlson – his words were no understatement.
Since joining the varsity ranks, the junior Carlson has started every game that Blooming Prairie has played and has yet to register a loss.
“She’s like a bulldog. If she goes down 2-0 or 3-0 in the count, she’s going to battle back. She’ll just never give up,” said Rutledge. “She’s had great stuff through these first five games, and you can’t ask for anything more than that as a coach. Obviously, we’re going to continue working on some things, but she has been performing extremely well so far.”
As a member of Blooming Prairie’s junior varsity team a season ago, Carlson pitched the majority of games for her squad and knew that her time to pitch for varsity would come this year.
“I was the only junior varsity pitcher last year so I knew it was going to be a big move coming up to varsity this year, but my teammates and coaches have really encouraged me,” Carlson said. “We’re really close as a team and it really helps.”
If Carlson has experienced any nerves on the mound herself, she has not given Blooming Prairie fans any reason to sweat while watching their team play as she has racked up 30 strikeouts and only allowed a total of six earned runs in the team’s first five games.
Carlson attributed part of her confidence on the mound to the run support she has gained from her teammates.
In five games, Blooming Prairie has only played one full seven-inning game with the only time being the team’s opening day 9-7 win over Grand Meadow/LeRoy Ostrander/Kingsland.
Having pitched every inning of every game so far, Carlson has amassed a perfect 5-0 record and has no plans of slowing down.
Carlson said that her biggest focus so far has been working on pitch placement, attacking the zone in places that leave hitters vulnerable to strike out or make weak contact.
The junior’s bread and butter pitch so far has been her fastball, which she uses to trick batters with its speed and trajectory.
However, fans can expect to see Carlson go to her bag of tricks in upcoming games as she said that she is working to improve a changeup that she believes will make her pitching even harder for batters to hit.
Blooming Prairie fans can watch Carlson in action next when the Awesome Blossoms travel to Randolph for an away game on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

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