Big Rivers teams fall victim to New Richmond softball
Three Big Rivers Conference teams have fallen victim to the New Richmond softball team this season after the Tigers struck early and maintained their leads against a pair of BRC teams over the weekend.
The Tigers went to Hudson on Friday and scored six runs in the top of the first inning. The Tigers didn’t score again, but fiery pitching from Sydney Kannel and incredible defense made those early runs stand up, with the Tigers winning 6-2.
Menomonie was the second BRC victim of the weekend. The Tigers hosted the Mustangs on Saturday. Again the Tigers took an early lead, scoring three times in the first inning. Pitching and defense took charge from there, as the Tigers produced a 4-2 win.
The Tigers have been starting recent games with big offensive bursts and that continued in both these games. The Hudson game started with a single from Tiger leadoff hitter Maddie Krumm and Kate Johnson followed with a walk. The Tigers then rang up three straight doubles, from Lexi Derrick, Kannel and Sydney Jones. Kaitlynn Belisle followed with a single and Callie Jirik’s triple down the leftfield line capped the rally.
“We came out on fire,” said Tiger coach Emily Dabrowski.
The hitting fire was extinguished after the first inning, but it carried on in the team’s pitching and defense. Dabrowski said the battery of Kannel and Jones had Hudson’s hitters off stride throughout the game. Kannel ended the game with a five-hitter.
Dabrowski saved her highest praise for the defense.
“Maddie (Krumm) and KJ (Johnson) were unstoppable up the middle,” Dabrowski said.
The combination was the same on Saturday. Early run production gave the Tigers the lead and the pitching and defense took care of business the rest of the way.
Krumm again opened the first inning with a single. That was followed with RBI doubles from Derrick and Kannel. Jones singled to bring in the third run of the inning.
Jones led off the sixth inning with a single to start the Tigers’ other scoring combination. Belisle bunted Jones to second and she scored on Jirik’s single.
The Tigers also had a big start last Thursday, scoring 11 runs in the first inning in a 22-12 win at Amery. This was the second time the Tigers scored 11 runs in the opening inning against Amery this season.
Senior Ellie Emerson was the hitting star of the first inning, drilling two homers in the inning. She started by hitting the second pitch of the game over the fence. In her second at-bat of the inning, she knocked another one over the fence. The homers were contagious, because Krumm was the next batter and she also socked one over the Amery fence. Kannel would homer in the sixth inning.
“That’s not a bad way to start the game,” Dabrowski said. “They were really crushing the ball.”
With the 11-run lead, Kannel was pulled from the game before throwing a pitch. Sophomore Miah Olson took the mound instead, getting the win in her first varsity pitching appearance.
The Tigers continued to post big innings, scoring four times in the fourth inning and three times in the sixth and seventh innings. Krumm led the team with four hits and Kannel scored four runs.
The one frustration for the Tigers last week came on Tuesday. The Tigers took an 8-3 lead into the seventh inning against Ellsworth in a game played at Hager City. The Tigers couldn’t stop Ellsworth in that final at-bat and the Panthers rallied for a 9-8 win.
The Tigers had led throughout the game, after scoring twice in the first and second innings. A three-run homer by Johnson in the sixth inning extended the lead to 8-1.
Emerson led the offense against Ellsworth with three hits.
Mother Nature’s wrath
Every time the Tigers tried to play Somerset this season, the skies opened up with a fury. Monday was the fourth time the Tigers and Spartans hoped to play this season, but for the fourth straight time, the game was rained out. Because the WIAA tournaments are scheduled to begin this Thursday, it looks like New Richmond and Somerset will not get in either of their MBC games this season.
New Richmond earned the second seed when the Division 2 regional tournament brackets were announced last week. With the second seed, the Tigers draw the seventh seed, which is St. Croix Central. The Panthers will play at New Richmond this Thursday.
This game has extra meaning for Dabrowski. She served as an assistant coach at St. Croix Central last season. Dabrowski and Central coach Mindy Rudiger are close friends and were college teammates at UW-River Falls where both players were standout infielders. New Richmond defeated St. Croix Central on Thursday 12-2 and will host Altoona in the second round of Division 2 action next Tuesday at 5 p.m.