Polars ground Raptors in opening Section 4AAA softball play

North’s hot bats, East Ridge errors led to 9-2 win

No. 2-seeded North High softball team took advantage of seven East Ridge errors and cruised to a 9-2 victory in the Section 4 Class AAA playoffs Tuesday, May 19.

North co-head coach Tom Nemo said, “[East Ridge] came to play. They swing the bats, and they hit the ball. They’re in a tough conference. That was a good test for us.

“’Rubes’ [North pitcher Megan Rubbelke] kept them off balance. The two-out base hit by Ryan Crotty was huge for us. Then we played some ‘small ball,’ and they made some errors.

“We knew we would have our hands full with a team of their caliber. Our defense played very well. It was a nice win for us,” Nemo added.

East Ridge coach Afton Murray didn’t make excuses when she summed up the Raptors’ effort, “The errors really killed us. It obviously was not the way we wanted things to go.

“It was not one our best performances all year long. We just made too many mistakes defensively. We planned on playing the ball we know how to play, and we didn’t do that today defensively.”

East Ridge, the seventh seed in the playoffs, put a run on the board in its half of the first and another in the top of the third to go up 2-1.

The Polars gained a run in the last of the second when Montana Thole slammed a one-hop double off the left field fence. She went to third on a wild pitch and came home on a single up the middle by Abby Glaus.

In the bottom of the third, a throwing error allowed Sophie Cave to gain second base, and Madison DelCastillo went in to run for her.

Abby Arko put down a bunt and was safe on a fielder’s choice. Kayla Koemptgen also reached on a fielder’s choice, and the bases were full of Polars. Thole then worked a walk and gained an RBI to knot the score at 2-2.

In the fourth North put what turned out to be the winning runs on the board. With two outs, Rubbelke walked, and Abigail Warzeka came in as a pinch runner. Cave moved her up with a single.

Then came the Crotty double referred to by Nemo that put both Warzeka and Cave across the plate to run the count to 4-2.

In the fifth Koemptgen led off with a single. Thole and Glaus worked walks in front of an RBI single by Lily Langevin. Rubbelke then slashed a double into the left field corner and suddenly the Polars - with the help of a passed ball and three Raptors’ errors - were up 8-2.  

In the sixth Arko had a leadoff walk, and Jordan Hofmeister was inserted as a pinch runner. Hofmeister stole second and went to third on a single off by Glaus. The two then worked a double steal and when Hofneister touched home, the final run in the 9-2 North win was up on the scoreboard.

North downs Roseville, 3-1

On Thursday, May 21 the Polars defeated the three-seed, Roseville Raiders, and their ace hurler Emma Hylen.

The line score was North 3-5-1-6, and Roseville 1-6-0-6.

North co-head Cliff Charpentier said, “We were able to take advantage of a couple of their errors. We have some fast runners. ... It was a huge win for us. We kind of live on our team speed.”

In the first inning, Kallie Stepaniak walked and promptly stole second base. Megan Rubbelke slapped a single, and Sophie Cave followed with an RBI single.

In the second Kayla Koemptgen walked and moved to second and third on wild pitches. She came home on a double by Montana Thole.

North put its final run on the board in the fourth when Koemptgen reached first on an error, stole second and scored on single by Abby Glaus.  

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7820.


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