You couldn’t ask for more from the New Richmond softball team in its season opener on Monday.
The first game for the Tigers under new varsity coach Emily Dabrowski was a gem, with the Tigers mauling the Old Abes 14-2. The second game was a more severe test for the Tigers. They built an 8-2 lead before the Old Abes rallied for five runs in the sixth inning. The Tigers were able to add two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the seventh inning played in a driving rain, the Tigers came up with several nice defensive plays to finish off the 10-7 victory.
The Tigers bring back a smart, experienced team and Dabrowski is letting them show what they’re made of. In the opening game the Tigers pounded the ball all over the artificial turf field. The game started with the Tigers scoring five runs in the top of the first inning and the Tigers never stopped hitting.
Kate Johnston’s two-run triple was the key hit of the opening rally. In the second inning the Tigers added another run when Lexi Derrick and Sydney Kannel doubled. The Tigers tallied three times in the third inning and five times in the fourth inning to put them in position to win on the 10-run rule. Ellie Emerson’s triple was the big hit of the fourth inning.
Kannel pitched both games for the Tigers. Kannel is one of the best shortstops in the area, but she’s also a top quality pitcher. Dabrowski said Kannel would prefer to play shortstop, but understands why she’s pitching.
“She’s doing what’s best for the team,” Dabrowski said, noting that as other pitchers become more advanced, she’ll get them mound time and get Kannel back to shortstop.
The Tigers are fortunate to have excellent depth at shortstop. Junior Maddie Krumm steps into the shortstop role and maintains a high level of production.
In the second game, Memorial scored twice in the first inning. The Tigers came back, logging four runs in the second inning, two in the third and two in the fifth to build the 8-2 lead. When Memorial made its five-run charge in the sixth inning, Dabrowski was pleased with how well the Tigers maintained their composure.
The second game was different for the Tigers because it wasn’t won with big hits. The Tigers used their speed, smart base running and the ability to make contact at the plate to keep runners cycling around the bases.
The Tigers resume their schedule this Thursday, playing at Durand in their Middle Border Conference opener. The Tigers will also be on the road Friday, playing at River Falls. The Tigers’ first home game is scheduled for next Monday, when they face defending MBC champion Baldwin-Woodville.