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New Richmond softball team runs out of season

Kaitlynn Belisle leads off third base for the Tigers in a recent game.

The New Richmond softball team was just starting to reach its potential when the Tigers ran out of season.

The Tigers finished the Middle Border Conference schedule last Tuesday with an impressive performance, sweeping a pair of games in Somerset.

The post-season began and ended for the Tigers with a game at Altoona last Thursday. The Tigers, seeded fifth in the Division 2 regional tournament bracket, lost to the fourth-seeded Rails 8-4.

The Tigers were determined to put up a fight against Altoona and they showed right away they meant it. The Tigers scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Ellie Emerson walked and Sydney Kannel singled. They both scored when Sydney Jones drilled a double off the outfield fence. Jones would score when Cassie Martie singled down the third base line.

Altoona threatened in the first and second innings, but couldn't score, stranding five runners on base. The Tigers weren't so fortunate in the third inning. Altoona scored four times and the Rails never gave up the lead. Altoona struck for four more runs in the fourth inning.

There was one charge left in the Tigers. With two outs in the seventh inning the Tigers scored one run, when Kaitlynn Belisle singled home Emerson. The Tigers loaded the bases, bringing the tying run to the plate, before Altoona could induce a fly ball for the final out of the game.

The final ledger for the season leaves the Tigers with a 9-10 record. They finished with an 8-6 record in the Middle Border Conference.

Tiger coach Becky Ahlbrecht said the early season weather that made a shambles of the team's schedule made it difficult for the players and coaches.

"It was such a strange rhythm to the season," Ahlbrecht said. "We had the two early dome games, then we had to wait. It was real choppy."

Ahlbrecht said she felt especially bad for the two seniors on the team, Jordan Pastorius and Jordyn Bonney, who had their final season so drastically altered by the weather.

The Tigers were rounding into mid-season form at the plate late in the season and that was fully on display in last Tuesday's games at Somerset. The Tigers opened the first game with an eight-run first inning and the offensive production continued through the afternoon.

Emerson started the game with a triple. The Tigers totalled seven hits in the inning, included a bases-clearing triple from Belisle.

In the fourth inning the Tigers added three more runs, with a deep double from Pastorius being the key hit of the rally. The Tigers tacked on two runs in the fifth, both scoring on a single from Jones.

Kannel was the starting pitcher in the opening game, with Bonney finishing up. Bonney then threw a complete game in the nightcap.

The Tigers took an early lead in the second game and cemented the win with an eight-run third inning. Jones' double to the rightfield gap was the key hit in a two-run first inning. Maddie Krumm singled home the only run of the second inning.

Jones started the third inning with a triple and the inning didn't end until the Tigers racked up seven hits and eight runs.

A sharp defensive play ended the game. Somerset scored three runs in the fifth inning and was threatening for more. Martie fielded a hit in leftfield and fired a dart to home plate, where Jones was able to tag a Spartan trying to score for the final out of the game.