By David Keech
The Rapids girls softball team hosted Freedom and Three Lakes in its invitational on Saturday and came away with a split. The Red Raiders had hoped to avenge an early-season loss to Freedom, but fell short in a 9-8 loss, but then rebounded for a 9-3 victory over Three Lakes.
Freedom opened things up with a three-run first inning. Four hits and a hit by pitch, coupled with two doubles, gave the Irish a 3-0 lead.
Rapids responded in their half of the inning.
Beth Borski and Allison Brost scored on Madison Bogie’s double, and Jordan Whipple singled to drive in Bogie to tie things up.
Freedom added two more in the third, including a home run by catcher Samantha Schumacher. Whipple prevented more possible damage as she gunned out a runner at third with one out. Even with Whipple’s outstanding hitting on the day, it was defense that she took the most pride in.
“I am most proud of catching,” said Whipple. “It’s great to play with a great group of girls, our defense is all a team effort.”
Unfazed, Rapids plated two of their own as Whipple’s double knocked in Bogie and Emily Jungwirth.
The Irish took a lead they would not relinquish in the 4th inning. Ashley Zimmerman doubled home Cassidy Schuh and Schumacher for a 7-5 lead.
Makenna Nieman’s RBI single in the Raiders’ half scored Chaela West, who was 3-4 in game one.
The Irish plated two more runs in the 6th and led 9-6.
In a game that saw plenty of offensive firepower, it appeared to be too soon to count the Red Raiders out, and that nearly came to be true.
“When we played Freedom the first weekend of the year, they hit the ball well. They are a well-coached, athletic team. We knew they would come out and hit the ball well, and that’s what they did today. We had to make sure we hit as well as they did, and we responded,” said Rapids’ coach Isaac Holberg.
He went on to note that the Irish were playing deep in the outfield, which prevented some shots doing more damage, “They were playing us deep. We had some hard hit balls that were hit to the fence and against most teams, would have been gap hits.”
Bogie’s double in the sixth scored West, setting up a dramatic 7th inning.
Chaela West singled in Autumn Olson, and Borski reached on an error. Down 9-8, and with two outs, Brost came to the plate looking to help her own cause, and she came inches away from doing do.
Brost’s line drive was snared by a leaping Zimmerman in the hole at short, a drive destined for the fence and likely giving Rapids the win.
When the dust settled, both teams came away looking like they had been in battle. Bogie, who leads the WVC with 4 home runs, summed it up by saying, “Even things didn’t turn out in our favor, we did our best.”
Holberg noted it has been morning games this season that have seen Rapids get out to slow starts.
“We’be been struggling with morning games, staying focused. That was evident today. Even so, typically it’s our defense keeping us in games, but today we did well at the plate. Our offense kept us in the game.”
The Red Raiders didn’t waste any time getting things started in game two. With the bases loaded and two outs, Whipple continued to shine, clearing the bases with her second double of the day.
Brost helped her cause with two RBI of her own in the second, scoring West, who was 2-3, and Borski, who went 3-5 in game two.
Emily Jungwirth tripled to lead off the third inning, scoring on Whipple’s groundout RBI, and when Borski singled in Brianna Mancl, Rapids held a comfortable 7-0 lead.
Rapids’ final two runs came in the fifth inning. Whipple singled and stole second. Faith Haas doubled to score Whipple, and scored on West’s single. West has contributed nicely as a freshman, and asked what it feels like to be playing at a high level already, she had a simple explanation.
“It’s a little nervewracking, but when I step up to the plate, I just hit the ball where it’s pitched.”
Three Lakes plated three runs in the sixth, two of them scoring on Lauren Sowinski’s triple.
The Red Raiders await seeding results for the WIAA Softball Regionals, and Holberg shared Rapids looks to be a high seed.
“The way we have played the top teams in our conference, I think we are deserving of a three seed.”
Rapids finishes WVC action on Thursday, at Merrill. The Red Raiders finish the season with a doubleheader Saturday hosting Rhinelander.
WP: Megan LeClaire LP: Brost
2B: Bogie, Whipple; Randerson (F), Hoppe (F)
HR: Schumacher (F)
WP: Brost LP: Emma Bushey
2B: Brost, Bogie, Whipple, Faith Haas
3B: Emily Jungwirth (WR), Lauren Sowinski (TL)
WP: Payton Dorn LP: Maddie Lorbetske
2B: Cassidy Schuh(F)
HR: Abby Cardew (F)