New Richmond softball climbs to 6-3 in Middle Border Conference standingsThe New Richmond softball team keeps climbing up the Middle Border Conference standings.
The New Richmond softball team keeps climbing up the Middle Border Conference standings.
The Tigers are 5-1 in their last six MBC games after scoring a 10-5 win over Durand at the NRHS field on Monday. Monday’s win raises the Tigers’ conference record to 6-3.
Durand was persistent, but the Tigers were eventually able to overcome the Panthers.
The Tigers got out to a good start, scoring four times in the first inning. Ellie Emerson, Jordan Pastorius and Ebony Campbell started the rally with singles. Sydney Kannel doubled and Megan Chelberg capped the rally with a two-run double.
Durand scored once in the second inning and twice in the third to keep the pressure on the Tigers.
New Richmond responded with three runs in the bottom of the third. Kelsey Gilkison started the charge with a double and Campbell and Kannel followed with singles. Chelberg delivered her second double of the game and Ashley Langer followed with a single to drive home the third run.
The Tigers scored their final three runs in the sixth inning. Paige Charland capped the inning with a two-run single.
Langer pitched the complete game victory, striking out two Panthers.
Improved pitching, defense and offense have carried the New Richmond softball team to new heights this season. The Tigers climbed into the top half of the conference standings last week with wins over Amery and Osceola.
The wins gave the Tigers a 5-3 conference record. This is the first time since the 2008-09 season that the Tigers have been above the .500 level in the second half of the conference season.
Tuesday’s 5-4 win over Amery was the Tigers’ third one-run win in conference play. The Tigers needed a major comeback in the seventh inning to pull off this win against the Warriors. Ellie Emerson led off the rally with a double. Jordan Pastorius was then hit by a pitch. Paige Charland drove home Emerson with a single. Kelsey Gilkison walked to load the bases. Freshman Ebony Campbell continued her torrid hitting by drilling a two-run double that tied the score. Senior Ashley Langer then delivered a single that scored Gilkison with the winning run.
“It was like a storybook ending,” said Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht. “The girls took the initiative.”
Hitting has become contagious for the Tigers, with six players collecting multiple hits in the win. Campbell and Langer led the team with three hits.
Langer pitched the complete game, striking out nine Warriors. The defense did its job, committing two errors.
Langer earned the spotlight with her performance in Thursday’s game against Osceola. Langer pitched her first complete game shutout, blanking Osceola on four hits in a 4-0 Tiger win.
“Every game, Ashley’s getting better,” Ahlbrecht said.
Langer’s pitching was backed up by spotless defense. Ahlbrecht said the errorless game and the shutout pitching work hand-in-hand.
“We’re trying to pay attention to the details, minimizing our mistakes. That takes pressure off Ashley,” Ahlbrecht said.
The Tigers didn’t have a big hitting game against Osceola, but they were able to make the most out of a couple small rallies. Campbell and Sydney Kannel led off the second inning with singles. Campbell would later score on a passed ball and Kannel scored on the front end of a double-steal attempt.
In the third inning the Tigers strung together four singles. Campbell delivered the fourth of those hits, scoring Charland and Gilkison.
Campbell led the Tigers’ 11-hit attack with three hits. Kannel, Pastorius and Emerson each produced two hits.
The Tigers end this week with a pair of home games. They face Somerset on Thursday and Grantsburg on Friday. The Tigers will play at Ellsworth next Tuesday. Through the start of this week, the Tigers had delivered the only loss on Ellsworth’s record this season.
After the Tigers play at home on Friday, another game will be played. The first Tiger alumni softball game will be played following Friday’s varsity game. Nineteen former Tigers will be divided up for a game between two alumni teams.