New Richmond softball team loses battle among MBC's fastest rising teamsNew Richmond and Osceola are two programs that have risen from the bottom of the Middle Border Conference softball ranks to be upper tier teams this season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
New Richmond and Osceola are two programs that have risen from the bottom of the Middle Border Conference softball ranks to be upper tier teams this season.
It was fitting that those teams clashed in the final round of MBC play Monday night. New Richmond had a big fourth inning, scoring six runs. But Osceola had the final word, scoring seven times in the sixth inning to beat the Tigers 8-7.
New Richmond finishes the 2012 MBC season with a 9-5 record, a major advancement from last season when the Tigers finished seventh in the conference.
The Tigers struck first in Monday’s game. Senior Ashley Langer doubled to start the third inning. When Callie Jirik put down a drag bunt, the throw to first was wild, giving Langer time to score.
The fourth inning rally started with Ebony Campbell walking and Sydney Kannel reaching on an error. Megan Chelberg singled in the first run and another scored when Sydney Jones reached on an error. Langer continued to rock the ball, doubling again to bring home two runs. Jirik then laid down another drag bunt and Osceola threw it away again, letting another run score. The final run of the inning came across when Ellie Emerson doubled.
Osceola got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, but the Chieftains did their main damage with two outs in the sixth inning. Osceola had scored once when the Tigers recorded the second out of the inning, but it would seem like an eternity until the Tigers got the third out.
“They turned on the heat and we weren’t able to stop it,” said Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht.
Ahlbrecht said she considered the Tigers and Chieftains to be quite similar teams. She said the teams have similar pitching and offense and both need their defense to be at the top of their game to be successful.
The result of Monday’s game further clouds the seeding possibilities for the WIAA Division 2 regional tournament. The seeding is scheduled for Wednesday. Ahlbrecht said Baldwin-Woodville and Bloomer will likely get the top two seeds in the bracket. New Richmond, Ellsworth and Osceola appear to be the next three teams in line, but only the top four seeds will get a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
The New Richmond softball team climbed up the Middle Border Conference to the point where they had a chance to battle for second place last Tuesday.
Ellsworth, the season-long holder of second place behind Baldwin-Woodville, didn’t want to give up its place. The Panthers stopped New Richmond’s five-game MBC winning streak, 6-1.
The Tiger offense has been extremely reliable all season, but it had a difficult night against Ellsworth senior pitcher Halle Hatch. Hatch limited the Tigers to three hits. Senior Paige Charland doubled to lead off the sixth inning, scoring on a groundout by Kannel, for the only New Richmond run.
The Tiger offense seemed to find its spark again last Thursday in a 7-3 win at Amery. The Tigers knocked out 13 hits in the game, with Chelberg, Jones, Campbell and Emerson each getting two hits. Chelberg had a team-high two RBI.
Langer pitched the complete game win, striking out five Warriors while issuing two walks.