Ridgewater heading to nationals
WILLMAR -- After a brief hiatus from their customary solid hitting, the Ridgewater Lady Warriors had the bats sizzling again on Sunday. And after scoring just six runs in 16 innings in two games on the first day of the NJCAA Region 13 softball to...
WILLMAR -- After a brief hiatus from their customary solid hitting, the Ridgewater Lady Warriors had the bats sizzling again on Sunday.
And after scoring just six runs in 16 innings in two games on the first day of the NJCAA Region 13 softball tournament on Friday, Ridgewater amassed 31 hits in beating Madison Tech 8-1 and 7-3 in the championship on Sunday. It marked the fourth year in a row that the Lady Warriors have captured the region title.
The Lady Warriors will now take a 27-6 record into the NJCAA Division III national tournament beginning Thursday in Rochester. Ridgewater placed fourth at the nationals last season.
"I knew we had a chance to win both games because we've had a lot of sweeps in division play this season," said Ridgewater coach Todd Thorstad. "You always like to be optimistic. I knew we were very capable."
The games were originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, but a steady rain forced the tournament to be moved back a day.
"We weren't hitting as well (Friday) as we have been most of the season," said pitcher/third baseman Calie Rittenour, who chalked up her team-leading 14th win in the opener and belted a solo homer well over the left-center field fence in the second game.
"It was just as matter of confidence. We knew we could do it. We've proven all year that we're a good hitting team."
Ridgewater, which has been averaging over 10 hits per game this season, was limited to just six hits on Friday against Madison Tech pitcher Margaret Fitcher in the 3-2 loss. On Sunday, the Lady Warriors had 11 hits off her through three innings and finished with 15.
"I don't know what it was the first time we played them," said Ridgewater shortstop Kristen Hegna, who was 4-for-6 in the two Sunday games. "We hit the ball, but we just weren't getting any hits. We hit a lot better today."
Rittenour allowed only five hits, while walking one and striking out three.
Ridgewater scored in each of the first four innings in the opener, including five times in the third inning. Brittany Ribar slugged a two-run double in the inning and Rittenour capped the scoring in the inning with a two-run single. Ashley Schmeling hit her second home run of the tournament leading off the second inning.
Tara Thielke had three hits and Rittenour, Schmeling, Dorothy Saulsbury, Sam Drees and Patina Queenan had two each.
In the second and deciding game on Sunday, Heather Thoma earned her 11th win without a loss, blanking Madison Tech over the first six innings before giving up four of its nine hits and all three runs (two earned) in the seventh. She did not walk a batter and struck out six.
Hegna and Schmeling each went 3-for-3 and Britney Glisczinski went 3-for-4. Rittenour had two hits, including her solo shot in the sixth inning. Hegna drove in three runs and Glisczinski two.
Saulsbury made two stellar plays in center field, nabbing sinking liners. The Lady Warriors also turned a double play in the third inning on a grounder to Hegna, who flipped to Kayla Terres at second for the force out, who fired to Glisczinski at first base.
Ridgewater 8, Madison Tech 1
Ridgewater 115 100 0 -- 8 16 1
Madison Tech 000 100 0 -- 1 5 0
HITTING - Ridgewater: Kristen Hegna 1-for-3; Tara Thielke 3-for-4; Calie Rittenour 2-for-4, 2 rbi; Dorothy Saulsbury 2-for-4; Sam Drees 2-for-3, 2b; Kelsey Stach 1-for-1, 2b; Patina Queenan 2-for-4; Ashley Schmeling 2-for-3, solo HR, 2 rbi; Brittany Ribar 1-for-2, 3 rbi; Verena Weber 1-for-1 ... Madison Tech: Chelsa Bednarek 1-for-3, 2b; Katie Howard 1-for-3; Jenny Rahn 1-for-3; Nicole Salis 1-for-3, rbi; Jenny Norton 1-for-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Ridgewater: Calie Rittenour (W) 7-5-1-1-1-3 ... Madison Tech: Margaret Fitcher (L) 7-16-8-8-2-1
Ridgewater 7, Madison Tech 3
Madison Tech 000 000 3 -- 3 9 1
Ridgewater 130 201 x -- 7 15 1
HITTING - Madison Tech: Chelsa Bednarek 3-for-4; Andee Brown 2-for-4; Jenny Rahn 1-for-3; Nicole Salis 1-for-3; Jenny Norton 1-for-3; Brittany Kalscheur 1-for-3, 2b, rbi ... Ridgewater: Kristen Hegna 3-for-3, 3 rbi; Tara Thielke 1-for-3; Calie Rittenour 2-for-4, solo HR, rbi; Britney Glisczinki 3-for-4, 2 rbi; Dorothy Saulsbury 1-for-3; Sam Drees 1-for-3; Patina Queenan 1-for-3; Ashley Schmeling 3-for-3; Kayla Terres 1-for-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Madison Tech: Kristin Berhtoff (L) 6-15-7-5-1-0 ... Ridgewater: Heather Thoma (W) 7-9-3-2-0-6