New Richmond softball team beginning to find home run range
Three New Richmond players hit their first career over-the-fence homers as part of a busy Tiger schedule last week.
Two of those homers came when the Tigers swept a double-header at Amery last Thursday. The games were played in wet, windy conditions, but that didn't stop the Tigers from generating 20-1 and 10-6 wins.
The first game was stopped in the fifth inning after the Tigers had scored their final five runs. The Amery coach asked to stop the game in hopes of getting the second game completed before the weather conditions got any worse.
The Tigers took immediate charge at Amery, scoring four runs in the first inning. They broke the game open with an eight-run third inning that featured the Tigers' first homer since the 2010 season when Dani Lagerstrom hit several homers.
Sydney Jones delivered the ground-breaking homer, driving a letter high pitch over the leftfield fence for a three-run homer.
"She's got a very fluid swing and she's got great confidence at the plate," Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht said of Jones. "The team's really responding to her leadership."
Senior Jordyn Bonney delivered the second homer of the day for the Tigers during the second game. Bonney drove a pitch over the centerfield fence, scoring three runs, as the Tigers built a 7-0 lead in the second inning.
The Tigers took a 10-0 lead before Amery made a late charge to make the final score 10-6.
Two nights earlier the Tigers split a Middle Border Conference double-header with Ellsworth. The Tigers won the opening game 3-1. Hitting reigned in the second game, with Ellsworth getting an 11-10 win.
In Tuesday's opener the Tigers received one of the finest pitching performances of the season from junior Sydney Kannel. She fired a three-hitter for the win. Kannel worked the corners expertly with her pitches, while keeping the ball low in the strike zone the entire way.
The Tigers scored all three of their runs in the fourth inning. Jirik singled home the first run and Maddie Krumm chased home the final two scores.
In the second game the Tigers appeared to be in good shape after rallying for seven runs in the seventh inning. They led 7-2 after that big inning, which featured doubles from Emerson and Lexi Derrick.
The lead lasted minutes. Ellsworth answered with eight runs in the bottom of the second inning to lead 10-7. The Tigers did threaten in the fifth inning, scoring three times, the final two on a double by Krumm.
On Saturday the Tigers played in a tournament at Robbinsdale Cooper, winning one of their three games. The Tigers began the day with a 10-0 win over Richfield, Minn. Kannel threw the one-hit shutout, walking one batter while striking out six.
The Tigers continued their string of homers. This time it was Emerson who went deep, hammering a homer over the centerfield fence in the fifth inning.
In the second round of the tournament the Tigers were defeated by Minneapolis Washburn 7-1. The Tigers faced Robbinsdale in the final round of the day, with Cooper earning a 10-3 win.
The Tigers hoped to continue hitting the ball well when they went to Osceola on Monday for a double-header with the Chieftains. The Tigers were competitive in both games, but they couldn't come up with the big hits. Osceola earned a sweep with 4-3 and 6-2 wins.
The Tigers had their chances in the opening game, building a 3-0 lead. Ellie Emerson led off the game with a walk and she scored the first run of the game on a passed ball.The Tigers added two more runs in the third inning. One run scored on an error and the second on a passed ball.
Osceola got one run back in the third inning. They nearly had another, but a strong throw from Callie Jirik nabbed a runner trying to score.
Osceola tied the game in the fourth inning before getting the game-winner in the fifth.
The Tigers also took an early lead in the second game, when Jones delivered a two-run double in the opening inning. It was the only scoring threat of the game for the Tigers, who had one of their quietest offensive days of the season.
Ahlbrecht said the Tigers were not aggressive enough at the plate on Monday, including taking three called third strikes in the opening game.
The Tigers now move into WIAA Division 2 regional tournament action. The Tigers will play at Altoona in the opening round of regional games on Thursday. New Richmond is the fifth seed in the bracket and Altoona is the fourth seed. The winner of this game will likely face defending state champion Baldwin-Woodville next Tuesday.