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Tigers hold two-game lead in MBC

By building a two-game lead before reaching the mid-point of the Middle Border Conference softball season, the New Richmond girls are firmly established as favorites to win the 2006 MBC title.

The Tigers climbed to 6-0 on Monday, by beating Durand 12-0.

Playing in an arctic wind off Hatfield Lake, the Tigers wasted no effort in putting away Durand in five innings. Tiger pitcher Nikki Singerhouse threw a one-hitter, striking out 10 Durand batters.

What stood out in this game was the Tigers' base running, especially in the third inning when they scored six runs. Ashley O'Flanagan, Libby Jensen and Emily Rehurek each had two-run singles in the inning. The Tigers alertly moved around the bases, several times taking an extra base on bad defensive decisions by the Panthers.

"We've really worked hard on base running," said Tiger coach Jim McCullum.

Wins over Amery and Ellsworth last week moved the Tigers into sole ownership of the MBC lead.

Last Thursday the Tigers went to Amery and delivered an 11-0 defeat to the Warriors. Two days earlier the Tigers knocked Ellsworth from the ranks of the MBC unbeatens by beating the Panthers 7-4.

Pitcher Nikki Singerhouse overpowered Amery, throwing the three-hit shutout. She did not walk a batter, while striking out five.

The Tigers put Thursday's game away with a six-run second inning. Shawna Tarman had her best offensive game to date in the win at Amery. She was 3-3 at the plate with two runs scored and three runs driven in.

Ashley O'Flanagan scored three runs and Emily Rehurek had two hits. Shelley Peterson had the Tigers' only extra-base hit, a triple that started a three-run rally in the fourth inning.

Ellsworth got the Tigers' attention by scoring one run in the top of the first inning last Tuesday. Maybe they would have been better off not to get the Tigers' attention. New Richmond responded with five runs in the bottom of the first inning and two more in the second inning.

The big hit for the Tigers was a homer by Jenna Moe, the first tally for the Tigers in the opening inning.

This week the Tigers start the second half of their MBC schedule. It begins with a home game Thursday against Baldwin-Woodville. Next Tuesday the Tigers are scheduled to play in Somerset.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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