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College softball: Cyclones storm past Warriors to win 13A title

ST. CLOUD — Ridgewater had St. Cloud Tech right where it wanted them. The Warriors were nine outs away from claiming another NJCAA Division III Region 13A title Friday, but St. Cloud Tech rallied for four runs in the sixth inning to clip the Warriors 8-7 and advance to the national tournament.

“We felt (all season) we had a team that was capable of reaching the region final and advancing to the national tournament,” said Ridgewater coach Todd Thorstad. “A timely hit here and there and we could’ve made the national tournament.”

Ridgewater reached the region final by thrashing Minnesota West 9-1 in five innings Friday morning and clipping the Cyclones 5-3, which gave the hosts a second chance to win the title since they were unbeaten in the tournament.

Playing in their fifth game in two days, the Warriors opened strong in the final by plating four runs in the first, highlighted by Brenna Holwerda’s two-run single with two outs. Ridgewater then scored twice in the fourth to go up 6-3 behind RBI singles from Kari Shipman and Jessie Kalenberg.

Tech responded with another run in the bottom half of the fourth, but Ridgewater got the run back in the fifth when Holwerda doubled in Datriana Jensen. The Warriors were then shut out in the sixth and seventh while Tech pulled ahead in the sixth when it sent nine batters to the plate to produce four runs behind just three hits. The rally was aided by two walks and a Ridgewater error.

The Warriors wasted an opportunity in the seventh to either tie the game or regain the lead, but they stranded runners on second and first when the game ended.

Ridgewater, which finishes the season 20-11, collected 38 hits on the day, 12 in the opener and 13 in each game against Tech.

Jensen, Brielle Hauge and Brooke Carlson were named to the all-region team for Ridgewater.

Alicia Koenen and an error-free defense kept the Warriors alive by drubbing Minnesota West in the day’s first game. Koenen surrendered six hits in the pitcher’s circle and avoided disaster when the Bluejays left two runners on in each of the first four innings.

The Ridgewater offense was firing on all cylinders as Shipman, Hauge, Carlson and Holwerda had two hits each and combined to knock in six runs. Holwerda hit a solo home run in the third while Hauge and Koenen had RBI doubles in a five-run second that featured six hits.

The second game saw Ridgewater stake a 5-0 lead through six innings before Tech plated three runs in the seventh. Tech had runners on third and second when Carlson made a diving catch in center to end the game.

Hauge had four hits and Brittany Nissen supplied three more. Hauge tripled in the first and capped the Ridgewater scoring by singling in Shipman in the sixth. The Warriors got four consecutive singles from Jenna Kincade, Shipman, Kalenberg and Hauge to grab their 5-0 lead.

Kalenberg earned the win after limiting Tech to three hits and one earned run while striking out five in a complete-game performance.

Game One

Ridgewater 9, MN West 1

Ridgewater         151 02 — 9 12 0

MN West              100 00 — 1  6  3

HITTING – Ridgewater: Kari Shipman 2-3 rbi, Brielle Hauge 2-3 2b rbi, Brooke Carlson 2-3 2-rbi, Datriana Jensen 1-3, Brittany Nissen 1-3 3b, Brenna Holwerda 2-3 solo hr 2-rbi, Alicia Koenen 1-3 rbi, Jenna Kincade 1-3 … MN West: Cheyenne Platz 2-2 2b rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Ridgewater: WP-Koenen 5-6-1-1-4-2 … MN West: LP-Christine Kazemba

Game Two

Ridgewater 5, SC Tech 3

SC Tech               000 000 3 — 3  3  1

Ridgewater         000 203 x — 5 13 3

HITTING – SC Tech: Danielle Curves 1-4 2b 2-rbi, Steph Scwira 1-3, Megan Garding 1-3 … Ridgewater: Shipman 1-4 rbi, Jessie Kalenberg 1-4 rbi, Hauge 4-4 3b rbi, Carlson 2-4, Jensen 1-2, Nissen 3-3 2-rbi, Kincade 1-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – SC Tech: LP-Sabrina Zimmel … Ridgewater: WP-Kalenberg 7-3-3-1-3-5

Game Three

SC Tech 8, Ridgewater 7

Ridgewater         400 210 0 — 7 13 2

SC Tech               111 104 x — 8 10 1

HITTING – Ridgewater: Shipman 2-4 rbi, Kalenberg 1-4 rbi, Hauge 1-4 rbi, Carlson 2-4, Jensen 3-4 rbi, Holwerda 3-4 3-rbi, Koenen 1-3 … SC Tech: Sam Steffes 3-5, Mariah Dockendorf 1-4 2b 2-rbi, Zimmel 1-2 rbi, Jess Davidson 0-2 rbi, Jess Heinen 1-3 2 rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Ridgewater: Nissen 4-7-4-3-6-3, LP-Koenen 1.2-3-4-4-2-1, Kalenberg 0.1-0-0-0-0-0 … SC Tech: WP-Steffes