New Richmond softball remains red-hot in Middle Border Conference gamesThe red-hot New Richmond softball squad continues to rise up the Middle Border Conference standings.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The red-hot New Richmond softball squad continues to rise up the Middle Border Conference standings.
The Tigers are 7-1 in their past eight MBC games after conference wins over Prescott and Somerset last week. The win over Prescott was a rare slugging battle, with the Tigers pounding out a 14-9 win. Pitching and defense were the overriding factors against Somerset on Thursday, when the Tigers earned a 4-1 win.
These wins move the Tigers into a tie for third place in the MBC standings with an 8-3 record. The win over Prescott balances out a loss to the Cardinals in the first round of conference play.
The win at Prescott was another stepping stone for the Tigers. They’ve been able to rely on the hearty pitching of senior Ashley Langer to low-scoring wins through this hot streak. When Prescott’s hitters were able to find some success against Langer, the Tiger hitters stepped up their production to finish off the win.
The Tigers scored in every inning except the fourth at Prescott and they needed every run. Prescott put together rallies in the fourth and sixth innings to keep the pressure on the Tigers.
Twenty hits, all singles, were the basis of the Tiger attack. Prescott also committed seven errors and the Tigers drew three walks, so there were plenty of baserunners. Even with 14 runs, the Tigers stranded 16 runners on base.
Senior Paige Charland had one of the biggest offensive games of her career to lead the Tigers. Charland went 4-6 at the plate and she scored five times during the game.
Ellie Emerson, Kelsey Gilkison and Ebony Campbell each delivered three hits.
The Tigers scored twice in the first inning, then built the lead to 7-2 with three runs in the second and two more in the third. Prescott started fighting back, getting four runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers matched that total in the fifth inning to stretch the lead to 11-6. They added two more runs in the sixth inning, which gave them a buffer when Prescott scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht said this game showed the importance of continuing to stay on the attack when the team gets the lead. That wasn’t the case when the Tigers hosted Somerset on Thursday.
It looked like this would be another big offensive showing when the Tigers scored four runs in the first inning against the Spartans. Those would be the Tigers’ only runs in the 4-1 win.
Emerson and Jordan Pastorius led off the first inning with walks. Charland’s single brought Emerson home with the first run of the game. Gilkison then pounded an RBI triple. Megan Chelberg walked and they both scored on a single from Langer.
After that, the offense dried up. The Tigers got just one more hit in the game, a single by Langer in the sixth inning.
Langer’s pitching dominated Somerset through the first five innings, but the final two innings were a nerve-testing experience for the Tigers. Somerset loaded the bases in the sixth inning, but Langer got the final two outs of the inning on strikeouts to avoid any damage.
Somerset’s left-handed slap hitters appeared to bother Langer in the seventh inning and she walked the first three batters she faced. Somerset’s next hitter singled home a run. Then came the play that saved the Tigers. Somerset’s next hitter flew out to leftfield. The Spartan runner on third scored, but the Tigers appealed the play, saying the runner on third left early. The umpires conferred and called the runner out. Langer then got the final out on a wicked liner that Gilkison gloved at second base.
On Friday the Tigers played a non-conference game against undefeated Grantsburg. The Tiger coaches are using non-conference games to get pitchers experience, knowing that Langer graduates this year. Sydney Kannel got the start, working the first three innings against the hard-hitting Pirates. Grantsburg was unstoppable, scoring a 17-0 win. The Tigers could manage just two hits.
Following that game, the Tigers held their first alumni game. Former players making it back for the event included Nikki Singerhouse, Jenna Moe, Carrie Lepinski, Lynnae Kistner, Christie Salmon, Ashley Morrissey, Sarah Munson, Alycia Anderson, Ashlyne Anderson, Billie Jo Germain, Heather Thompson, Ashley Wolden, Ashley Stoffel, Sami Kleiner and Alyssa Martinson.
The end of the regular season is rapidly approaching for the Tigers. They play at Amery on Thursday. They will finish their conference schedule next Monday, when they play at Osceola.