Wildcats blank Ellsworth PanthersThe Wildcat softball team gave Big Rivers Conference leading Rice Lake all it could handle before coming out on the short end of a 5-3 score in the first game of a doubleheader in Rice Lake last Tuesday.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat softball team gave Big Rivers Conference leading Rice Lake all it could handle before coming out on the short end of a 5-3 score in the first game of a doubleheader in Rice Lake last Tuesday.
The Warriors showed why they are considered one of the best teams in the state in the nightcap by rolling over the Wildcats, 21-0.
Friday the Cats picked up their fourth win of the season with a 9-0 nonconference shutout over Ellsworth.
River Falls wrapped up the regular season at home with a doubleheader Tuesday against Eau Claire North and will begin regional play Tuesday, May 26. Check www.riverfallsournal.com for the complete regional schedule.
Last Tuesday against Rice Lake, the Cats matched the Warriors play-for-play and at-bat for at-bat in a 5-3 loss. Only a two-run home run by Korin Bauman in the fifth inning tipped the outcome in the Warriors’ favor as River Falls outhit Rice Lake 5-4.
“The girls fought hard and never got down throughout the game,” Wildcat head coach Rick Hansen said. “If I would have been asked earlier this year how we would have done against Rice Lake, I certainly would not have said this result. These girls have come a long way this year and opposing coaches are starting to take notice.”
The Cats took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Nikki Plunkett led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on a base hit by Lauren Cernohous. Caitlyn Ahlborn then singled to score both Plunkett and Kelsey Ekstrom, who was pinch running for the pitcher Cernohous.
The Warriors tied the score with two runs in the bottom of the first, but the Cats took a 3-2 lead in the third when Plunkett was hit by a pitch, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hayley Heschke, and scored on a single by Cernohous.
Rice Lake scored a run in the fourth to tie the score before Bauman’s blast in the fifth provided the winning runs.
Plunkett also singled in the game to reach base three times while Cernohous, Ahlborn, Abby Harter, and Heidi VanDell also had singles.
Cernohous allowed just four hits and two earned runs while striking out five and walking two.
The nightcap was a different story as the Warriors erupted for 16 hits in a 21-0 victory.
“We put everything we had, physically, mentally and emotionally into the first game and Rice Lake pretty much took it to us,” Hansen said. “We’re a fairly young team and will not soon forget how they ran up the score on us. I don’t have a problem with getting beat this badly, but when you’re ahead 12-0 and 14-0 and 17-0, you don’t suicide squeeze bunt, steal and try trick plays to rub it in.
“I question why he didn’t do this stuff in the first game when it was much closer,” Hansen added.
Harter had a double in the loss while Heschke, Ahlborn and Masy Engel had the only other hits.
Friday at Ellsworth, Cernohous pitched a three-hit shutout and Engel had three hits and two RBI in a 9-0 Wildcat win.
Heschke added two hits, two RBI and two runs scored while Plunkett, Cernohous, Harter, Ahlborn and Lily Cranston each drove in a run.
“We had good defense, committing only one error, and had timely hitting,” Hansen said. “This team is continuing to impress me throughout the last two weeks.”