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College Softball: Ridgewater wins twice to reach region final

(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Ridgewater third baseman Aimee Johnson, left, takes a throw from catcher Brandi Bodin and applies the tag on Alyson Drooger of Minnesota West during the first inning Thursday in Willmar. Drooger was trying to take a base on play at the plate. Watching the play in the background is Ridgewater shortstop Emily Roelike.

WILLMAR -- The Ridgewater Lady Warriors are in commanding positioning entering the final day of the Region 13A softball tournament.

Ridgewater (35-8) will play at noon today in the championship against the winner of the loser's bracket game at 10 a.m., pitting Anoka-Ramsey and Minnesota West. The Lady Warriors will have a second shot if they lose the first game.

If Ridgewater wins, it would earn its fifth national trip in the last seven years.

The Lady Warriors tumbled both of the elimination-bracket teams on Thursday, beating Minnesota West 11-8 in a noon game and Anoka-Ramey in the late afternoon 19-8.

The Lady Warriors piled up 33 hits, 14 of those going for extra-bases, including five home runs.

"We're a good hitting team and we just wore down their pitchers," commented Ridgewater coach Todd Thorstad.

In their first game, the Lady Warriors belted 13 hits, including two homers, three triples and three doubles to offset seven errors in the field.

The Bluejays scored three times in the top of the first on a couple of solid hits, plus two Ridgewater errors. The Lady Warriors came right back with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. A triple by Amanda Horst provided two of the runs.

Aimee Johnson clubbed a two-run homer in the third for a 6-3 lead. The third baseman also hit a triple and a single to finish with four RBI.

Sara Beyer homered to left-center field in the sixth with Brandi Bodin aboard as the lead climbed to 11-4.

The Bluejays snapped back with four runs in the top of the seventh before Krause, who walked one and fanned eight, got the ninth Bluejay to bat in the inning on a grounder to Emily Roelike at shortstop.

Bevin Williams doubled and tripled in a 13-hit Ridgewater offense against Minnesota West pitcher Steph Maras, who walked two and fanned one.

In the late game, catcher Bodin slugged a pair of homers while going 4-for-4 with seven RBI. Bevin Williams hit a two-run homer and Samantha Cunningham doubled three times and singled in six at bats.

Anoka-Ramsey, which defeated defending region champion Rochester in the day's first game, 9-7, used three pitchers against the state champions, who rang up 20 hits.

Alex Thunborg doubled, tripled and singled for the Golden Rams. Randee Hanson also had three hits, including a three-run homer in the fifth. Ashley Zimmel added three hits in a 12-hit attack.

Winning pitcher Shannon Heitz walked three and struck out four.

Minnesota West erased the Yellowjackets from the tournament, 11-10.

Game One

Ridgewater 11, Minnesota West 8

MN West 300 001 4 -- 8 10 2

Ridgewater 402 004 x --11 13 7

HITTING - Minnesota West: Sam Lynn 2-for-4, 2b; Steph Maras 1-for-3, 2b; Kat Kazemba 2-for-4, 2 runs, rib; LoRel Christensen 1-for-4, 2b, rbi; Kaitlin Banek 1-for-3, 2 runs; Alyson Drooger 2-for-4; Katie Hedler 1-for-4, 2b ... Ridgewater: Emily Roelike 1-for-4; Brandi Bodin 1-for-2, 2 runs, 2b; Sara Beyer 1-for-4, 3-run HR, 3 rbi; Andrea Krause 2-for-3, 2 runs, 2b, rbi; Amanda Horst 1-for-4, 3b, 2 rbi; Bevin Williams 2-for-3, 2b, 3b; Aimee Johnson 3-for-4, 3b, 2-run HR, 4 rbi; Samantha Cunningham 1-for-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Minnesota West: Steph Maras (L) 6-13-11-8-2-1 ... Ridgewater: Andrea Krause (W) 7-10-8-4-1-8

Game Two

Ridgewater 19,Anoka-Ramsey 8

Ridgewater 124 014 7 --19 20 3

Anoka-Ramsey 100 150 1 -- 8 12 3

HITTING - Ridgewater: Emily Roelike 2-for-4; Brandi Bodin 4-for-4, 2b, 2-run HR, 3-run HR, 7 rbi; Sara Beyer 2-for-6; Andrea Krause 2-for-4, 2 rbi; Amanda Horst 1-for-4; Aimee Johnson 1-for-6; Jen Storck 2-for-6, 2b, rbi; Samantha Cunningham 4-for-6, 3 2b's, rbi; Whitley Strei 1-for-2; Bevin Williams 1-for-1, 2-run HR, 2 rbi ... Anoka-Ramsey: Alex Thunborg 3-for-5, 2b, 3b, rbi; Alex Conley 1-for-4, rbi; Randee Hanson 3-for-5, 2b, 3-run HR, 3 rbi; Ashley Zimmel 3-for-4; Jill Jansen 1-for-4, 2b; Cassie Nikolaus 1-for-4

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Ridgewater: Shannon Heitz (W) 7-12-8-6-3-4 ... Anoka-Ramsey: Andi Schoethoeister 1/3-0-1-1-4-1, Krystal Plouff (L) 52/3-17-16-11-5-5, Cassey Nikolaus 1-3-2-2-0-0