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Only rain can stop surging Tiger softball team

New Richmond first baseman Kaitlynn Belisle (13) stands ready to make a play as Somerset’s Jocelyn Rivard gets her lead off first base in the first inning of Thursday’s washed-out softball double-header.

There was plenty of disappointment as the New Richmond softball players watched through the high school doors as rain washed out their double-header against Somerset last Thursday.

The Tigers have been enjoying an offensive resurgence and they desperately wanted to get Thursday’s games played. The Tigers had already taken the lead in the opening game when monsoon-force rain stopped the first game in the opening inning. The double-header will be made up next Monday.

The rainout came two days after the Tigers went to Prescott and thumped the Cardinals 13-1. It took a couple innings for the Tigers to start hitting at Prescott, but once they started, they were unstoppable.

Prescott scored in the first inning and the Tigers matched that run in the third inning when Kate Johnson doubled home Maddie Krumm.

The Tigers put the game out of reach by scoring seven runs in the fourth inning and five more in the fifth inning. Johnson’s two-run double was the key hit of the fourth inning, which also featured hits from Sydney Jones, Kaitlynn Belisle (twice) and Ellie Emerson.

Cassie Martie kept the momentum rolling by smacking a triple to lead off the fifth inning. She scored on a Callie Jirik single. Johnson followed with her third double of the game. Then came singles from Lexi Derrick, Sydney Kannel, Jones and Belisle.

Kannel handled the Tigers’ pitching. After giving up a run in the first inning, she mowed down the Prescott batters with little trouble in the rest of the game.

Several Tigers have had stretches where they carried the offense this season. Right now, Johnson and Belisle are spearheading the thriving Tiger offense.

“KJ (Johnson) has such confidence up there. She’s a very disciplined hitter. She and Flex (Belisle) have our most relaxed approaches at the plate,” said Tiger coach Emily Dabrowski.

On Saturday, the Tigers made their annual excursion to the Bloomer Invitational. Other than one inning, it was a successful trip for the Tigers. The Tigers opened the tournament by facing Superior. The Tigers led 3-1 until Superior scored eight runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers tried to come back, but Superior held on for a 12-8 win.

The Tigers were frustrated by Superior’s fourth inning rally, because Superior wasn’t hitting the ball with power.

“I’d swear the ball had GPS in it, everything they hit went to a hole,” Dabrowski said.

The Tigers did have several offensive highlights in the game, including a solo homer from Megan Chelberg that put the Tigers ahead 3-1 in the top of the third inning. Krumm reached base four times on two hits and two walks and Jones singled twice in the game.

After the loss, the Tigers bounced back by playing sharply in a 6-3 win over Bloomer, the leader of the Heart O’North Conference.

Kannel was unhappy with her pitching against Superior, and she took her frustrations out on Bloomer. In addition to a sterling pitching performance, Kannel had one of her biggest offensive games of the season. She ripped two triples and a double.

“She was awesome,” Dabrowski said of Kannel. “She was ready to have a new start.”

The Tigers took charge of the game with three runs in the fourth inning. Singles from Jirik and Belisle and a double by Ellie Emerson were the key components in that rally.

The season is quickly coming to a close and the Tigers still have plenty of business to complete. They play at Amery on Thursday and they play a non-conference game at Hudson on Friday. The Tigers face another opponent from the Big Rivers Conference on Saturday when they host Menomonie.

The Tigers start next week with the double-header against Somerset on Monday before finishing the regular season with a game at Osceola next Tuesday.

The WIAA Division 2 regional tournament seeding was Wednesday. New Richmond earned the second seed and will host St. Croix Central in the opening round of playoff action on Thursday, May 22.

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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