New Richmond softball knocks off Ellsworth, gives Baldwin-Woodville its best challengeThere’s been a definite upturn in the play of the New Richmond softball team.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
There’s been a definite upturn in the play of the New Richmond softball team.
Last Thursday the Tigers defeated Ellsworth, giving the Panthers their first Middle Border Conference loss of the season. On Monday the Tigers went to Baldwin-Woodville to face the Blackhawk wrecking crew that has demolished every opponent it’s met this season. The Tigers gave the undefeated Blackhawks their most competitive game thus far, losing 6-2.
In a scheduling oddity, the Tigers played the Blackhawks twice in their first six conference games. That could be a blessing, because the Tigers are now 3-3 and don’t face the Blackhawks again. The Tigers have proven they are capable of beating any other team in the conference.
The 6-2 loss was a big improvement over the Tigers’ 10-0 loss to the Blackhawks in the opening game of the season. The Tigers had six hits in Monday’s game, compared to two hits in the opener.
The one thing the Tigers couldn’t contain on Monday was the power hitting ability of the Blackhawks. B-W scored four times in the first inning, including two homers. The Blackhawks got some insurance in the fifth inning on a two-run homer.
Coach Becky Ahlbrecht said the reaction, or lack thereof, shows how the Tigers have matured this season.
“We didn’t get rattled. A year or two ago, we would have been really rattled by something like that,” she said.
The Tigers cut the B-W lead to 4-2 in the second inning. Kelsey Gilkison was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Ebony Campbell followed with a single. Sydney Kannel knocked in the first run and Ashley Langer knocked in the second.
Last Thursday’s win over Ellsworth may be the turning point in the Tigers’ season. Ellsworth hadn’t lost until Thursday and the Tigers had to come through with some pressure plays to earn the victory.
Ellsworth scored twice in the first, but the Tigers matched those runs with a pair in the third inning. Ellie Emerson and Paige Charland singled and eventually scored in the third.
Ellsworth regained the lead with two runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers matched those by scoring twice in the sixth inning.
Campbell led off the sixth with a single. Megan Chelberg reached on a bunt single, with Campbell scoring on a throwing error. Callie Jirik then slapped a single down the third base line to bring home Chelberg with the tying run.
The Tigers kept the pressure on in the seventh inning. Gilkison led off with a single and Campbell followed with her third hit of the game. Following two outs, Langer hit a screamer to rightfield that brought Gilkison around with the winning run.
Ahlbrecht said the team is showing measurable improvement in every game.
“It’s a fun group, watching them grow together,” she said.
Last Tuesday the Tigers were able to get a rare one-sided win against Somerset. These games have had a tradition of being nail-biters, but the Tigers took the drama out of this one by winning 10-1.
Langer pitched one of the best games of her career, shutting down the Spartans on three hits. Assistant coach Mike Peterson has been calling the pitches for the Tigers and he’s had Langer pitching inside more often. She’s been able to jam hitters, leading to more weak swings and soft hits to the infield.
The Tigers took the lead with single runs in the first two innings. They added two more runs in the fifth inning. The Tigers finished the game with one of their best rallies of the season, using seven hits to score six runs in the seventh inning.
Gilkison led the Tiger attack with a single, double and triple. Campbell also had three hits and Pastorius, Chelberg and Langer each collected two hits as the Tigers finished with a season-high 17 hits.
The Tigers will try to continue their strong play in two upcoming home games. They will host Osceola on Thursday in a 4:30 p.m. start. They will play at home against Durand on Monday, before heading to Prescott for a game on Tuesday.