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Bats starting to ring out for New Richmond softball team

Tiger pitcher Sydney Kannel fires the ball to first base after fielding a ground ball in last Tuesday’s win over Ellsworth.

The bats of the New Richmond softball team are beginning to ring out.

After struggling with their hitting in the early stages of the season, the Tigers are beginning to drive the ball with more authority. That showed in a pair of wins last week, which raised the Tigers’ record in the Middle Border Conference to 3-2. The Tigers’ overall record now stands at 5-3.

The Tigers fought off a challenge from Ellsworth last Tuesday, rallying for four runs in the sixth inning to notch a 6-2 homefield win. The Tigers were back at home on Friday against Osceola. The Tigers won by the 10-run rule for the first time this season, with an 11-1 win over the Chieftains in five innings.

Pulling out the win against Ellsworth may have been the spark the Tigers needed to get some momentum rolling. The Tigers opened the game with two runs in the first inning, produced on a single from Kate Johnson, a double from Sydney Kannel and a single by Lexi Derrick.

The Tigers had scoring chances, but they weren’t able to capitalize on them until the sixth inning. Singles by Kaitlynn Belisle and Callie Jirik set the stage for a big inning. Johnson, Kannel and Derrick followed with doubles as the Tigers were suddenly crushing the ball.

Kannel handled the Tigers’ pitching. Given the lead late in the game, she made sure Ellsworth wasn’t able to mount a comeback.

In Friday’s win against Osceola, the ball was ringing off the Tiger bats like a bell choir was performing. The Tigers scored in every inning. Several of the balls hit best were hung up in the gale-force wind that was blowing in from leftfield. Tiger coach Emily Dabrowski said she thought several of those balls would have carried over the fence for homers in normal conditions.

The Tigers used two walks and a single from Kannel to score twice in the first inning. The Tigers batted around during a four-run second inning. A triple by Ellie Emerson and a double from Sydney Jones were the big hits in that rally.

Jones doubled again in the third inning, scoring the only run of the third inning. The Tigers scored twice in the fourth inning, sparked by a double from Jirik.

Cassie Martie started the two-run rally that finished off the game in the fifth inning. Jirik singled in the winning run.

One of the highlights of Friday’s win was a tremendous running catch by Tiger centerfielder Ellie Emerson in the fifth inning. Osceola had put together its best threat and it appeared the Chieftains would get several runs when a ball was hit to the leftfield alley. Emerson sprinted to her right, making a backhanded catch in full stride. The runner scored from third on the sacrifice fly, but the catch put the Tigers in a position to get out of the inning without any more damage.

Emerson is the leader of the Tiger defense. The team’s defensive play is one of its best assets. The Tigers are sure-handed and they make very few inaccurate throws.

The Tigers are scheduled to start the second half of the conference schedule this Thursday when they host Durand. The Tigers lost to Durand 2-1 in 11 innings in their first meeting, but the Tigers are hitting the ball much more solidly now that they’ve been able to get in a few outdoor practices. The Tigers start next week with a home game against winless Amery on Monday. The Tigers will be on the road Tuesday, traveling to Prescott. The Tigers have added a game for this Saturday, making up a game at Baldwin-Woodville at 10 a.m.

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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