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Softball goes 2-2

Wildcat senior Shelby Benson takes a lead off third with teammate Hayley Heschke at the plate in the first game of a doubleheader against Menomonie last Tuesday at the high school field. Benson was later lost for the season when she injured her leg in a collision in the outfield. Bob Burrows photo

The Wildcat softball team posted a record of 2-2 in four games last week, winning the opener of a doubleheader against Menomonie, 5-3, last Tuesday and defeating Pepin, 5-1, in the first game of the Pepin Tournament on Saturday.

Menomonie came back to win Tuesday's nightcap, 11-1, and the Cats dropped the title game of the Pepin Tournament to Arcadia, 5-4.

This week River Falls traveled to Rice Lake Tuesday and will visit Ellsworth on Friday. They return home to host Eau Claire North in a doubleheader Tuesday, May 19, at 4 p.m.

Last Tuesday, Nikki Plunkett had two hits and two runs scored and Abby Harter had a pair of hits and a run batted in as the Cats defeated Menomonie, 5-3, in the first game of a doubleheader at the high school field.

River Falls led 5-0 before the Indians scored three times in the seventh to make the final 5-3.

"This was a great win for our program," head coach Rick Hansen said. "We were one out away from a shutout."

The win didn't come without a cost, however, as the Cats lost senior centerfielder Shelby Benson for the season with a leg injury.

"It was a ball hit in between right field and center field," Hansen said. "Both girls called for the ball and they collided. Our rightfielder (Karla Hanson) made the play but we lost Shelby for the year."

The Cats also had to wait out a 25 minute rain delay.

"After the delay, we lost our focus a little bit, but Nikki Plunkett made a diving play in the hole between first and second to preserve the win. If she doesn't make that play, I doubt we win the game."

Lauren Cernohous picked up the win on the mound and also helped herself at the plate by reaching base four times on a hit, two walks and an error, driving in a run and scoring twice. Hayley Heschke and Heidi Van Dell each added a hit and RBI in the win.

The Indians stormed back to take the nightcap, 11-1. Erin Temme singled in Lily Cranston with the Wildcats' only run in the second inning. Heschke, Van Dell and Hanson also had hits in the game.

Hansen said the Wildcats may have been preoccupied with losing Benson earlier in the day, but he said players on both teams were moved by a home run hit by Menomonie's Rachel Hartz in the nightcap.

"Her father is dying of cancer, and when she hit it her dad was walking down the hill and saw it," Hansen said. "There's more to life than softball, and that will be a special memory for that young lady and her family. I can live with that play knowing the circumstances, and I think we can all learn from it."

Saturday in the first game of the Pepin Tournament, Cernohous twirled a two-hitter and had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI at the plate while Harter had three hits, a run scored and an RBI in a 5-1 win over the host team. Caitlyn Ahlborn also had two hits and a run batted in.

Against Arcadia, Harter had three hits, including a home run, and three RBI but the Cats came up one run short in a 5-4 defeat.