Going into last week’s Thursday’s regional quarterfinal home game against the Two Rivers Raiders, Ripon High School Tiger head softball coach Will Martin didn’t really know what to expect.
He figured that the game, which pitted the No. 8 and 9 seeds in the 10-team half-sectional bracket, would be a close matchup, but knew that if the Tigers got their bats going that they could win the game.
While the game wasn’t close, that is just what happened as the Tigers pounced on the Raiders for eight runs in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised to a 17-4 victory in five innings. With the win, Ripon will face top-seeded Kewaskum today (Tuesday) in a regional semifinal matchup. First pitch for that game is slated for 5 p.m.
"Just a great feeling to come out and win,” Ripon head coach Will Martin said. “We're not happy with the one inning and giving up four; that's kind of our Achilles heel, so that's what we're working on before we go into Kewaskum.”
Ripon started the game by retiring Two Rivers in order on 16 pitches in the top of the first inning, with pitcher Laila Simonis recording two strikeouts. It then scored eight runs in the bottom half of the frame on six hits, two errors and a walk. Five of the eight runs were scored after two outs and were aided in part by the two errors by the Raiders.
After once again making quick work of Two Rivers in the top of the second inning, setting down the side in order on just seven pitches, the Tigers added three more runs in the bottom half on two singles, a double and a triple.
Ripon then ran into a bit of trouble in the top of the third inning as it allowed four runs on three singles, three walks and an error. It was able to strand runners at second and third base to limit the damage to the four runs. While several of the hits were of the bloop variety, Martin noted Ripon has to just stay more focused and execute what it practices.
The Tigers stemmed the momentum by getting three of those runs back in the bottom of the third inning on four hits, which included a hustle inside-the-park home run from Alli Bumby, and a Two Rivers’ fielding error to make it 14-4.
Simonis and her defense bounced back in the fourth from the shaky third inning as they worked around one hit to retire the Raiders on just 12 pitches. Ripon then scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on five hits, before putting the final touches on the victory in the top of the fifth inning by retiring the Raiders in order to end the game.
Bumby finished with a big game at the plate for the Tigers as she went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and four RBIs. The senior finished just a single shy of the cycle as she tripled in the first inning, doubled in the second and hit the inside-the-park home run to lead off the third inning. The one time she didn’t get a hit, she reached base on an error.
She wasn’t the only Tiger who had success at the plate as Kylee Busse went a 4 for 4 with three runs scored; Addisyn Johnson was 3 for 3 with a triple and two runs scored; and Gabi Gaffney was 2 for 4 with four RBIs. Also collecting multiple hits as part of the Tigers’ 19-hit attack were Simonis (2 for 4), Bryn Carlson (2 for 3) and Eva Baker (2 for 4).
Simonis recorded the win in the circle as she allowed the four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits and three walks. The senior struck out five Two Rivers’ batters in the victory.
Ripon swept by Kewaskum in twin bill
The Tigers received a preview of Tuesday’s regional semifinal game with Kewaskum last week Tuesday, when they were swept in a road doubleheader by the Indians. They lost the first game 5-0 and the second game 12-1.
In game one, Ripon was hurt by one bad inning as it gave up four of its five runs in the second. It also allowed one run in the fifth inning. The Indians finished the game with just eight hits, but was able to limit Ripon to three hits and strike out 10 batters. Collecting the Tigers’ hits were Simonis, Carlson and Busse.
Simonis was saddled with the loss as she allowed the five runs — four earned — on eight hits and a walk.
With Simonis unavailable to play in the game two, Ripon looked to the future as it gave the ball to Johnson to pitch. While Johnson surrendered 12 runs — eight of which were earned — on 11 hits and seven walks, Martin noted it was a good test for the freshman’s character and that she kept her composure and kept Ripon in the game.
After allowing five runs in the first inning, Johnson pitched scoreless second and third innings. She then gave up two runs in the fourth, one in each of the fifth and sixth innings and three in the seventh.
The Tigers did a better job of collecting hits in game two against a backup pitcher from Kewaskum as they collected nine, but managed just one run. The run came in the fourth inning and was driven in by Ronia Leavitt.
Leavitt was one of two Ripon batters to finish with two hits, joining Bumby. Recording a hit apiece for Ripon in the losing effort were Hayden Baker, Johnson, Carlson, Busse and Eva Baker.
Having played the two games against Kewaskum, Martin noted that the Tigers know what to expect going into Tuesday’s regional semifinal game.
“We won't have any excuses,” he said. “We've just got to go in and play defense; that's our game. And then hopefully our offense breaks through. She [Macy Sabish] is a good pitcher, but we can hit her. We took her deep in the count that first game a lot of times. She threw like 120 pitches, so we did our jobs there. We've just got to break through with some hits and we'll be good."
Welcome to the discussion.
Thank you for taking part in our commenting section. We want this platform to be a safe and inclusive community where you can freely share ideas and opinions. Comments that are racist, hateful, sexist or attack others won’t be allowed. Just keep it clean. Do these things or you could be banned:
• Don’t name-call and attack other commenters. If you’d be in hot water for saying it in public, then don’t say it here.
• Don’t spam us.
• Don’t attack our journalists.
Let’s make this a platform that is educational, enjoyable and insightful.
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.