BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
When the dust cleared after the top two sub-section softball seeds clashed Thursday, Rockford was in better position compared to Delano after winning the sub-section title game 9-4.
Delano had been on a roll, going 13-4 after five straight wins to claim the top sub-section seed. The Tigers outscored two section opponents by a total of 27-0, defeating Brooklyn Center 13-0 and Mound-Westonka 14-0.
Rockford was just as hot, going 13-3 to earn the No. 2 sub-section seed. The team started section play with a 10-0 win over Patrick Henry before defeating Watertown-Mayer 7-1. The win over Delano put the Rockets against Becker, the other sub-section champ, a game played Tuesday after this issue went to press.
The winner would advance to the title game May 30 at Watertown-Mayer. The loser was to play the winner of the Delano-Annandale game also played Tuesday.
“What an exciting game,” said Rocket coach Dawn Engebretson about the big win over rival Delano. “Every time Delano would fight to get back into the game, we would score more runs to stay ahead. I was very proud of how well the whole team worked together. Players were very focused and calm during this game.”
Rockford scored first in the second inning on a single by Bria Majeski. Katelynn Pedersen provided a 2-run double in the fifth after Brianna Calder, Hannah Carlson and Ashley Dick all singled.
“Delano scored one run in the fifth off a line drive that hit Bria (Majeski) in the face,” said Engebretson about her pitcher. “She had a face mask on that saved her. That was one of the scariest moments I had in coaching.”
Majeski was able to continue and got the final out of the inning. Rockford added three more runs in the sixth, one on a double before Carlson pounded a 2-run home run.
After Delano scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 6-4, Rockford switched pitchers to senior Lexi Majeski. She would face six batters and get them all out on ground balls.
The Rockets added to the lead with three runs in the seventh. Megan Bode drove in one run on a single, while the other two scored on an error and ground out. Bria Majeski allowed four hits in five innings.
Calder, Carlson and Dick each had two hits against Delano, with one each by Pedersen, Lexi and Bria Majeski, Westrup and Bode.
Rockford advanced by defeating Watertown-Mayer 7-1. A big blow was a 3-run double in the fifth inning by Bode, who went 2 for 3. Bria Majeski pitched a no-hitter with eight strikeouts and three walks. The Rockets had seven walks and six hit batters.
“It is a great luxury to have two great pitchers at this point in playoffs,” adds Engebretson about the Majeski sisters.
Delano advanced to the sub-section final with a 14-0 romp over Mound-Westonka. The Tigers pounded out 11 hits and had no errors in the field.
Sam Noetzelman powered the offense by going 3 for 4 with a double and a home run to drive in four runs. Katie Emmer also homered when going 2 for 3. Makenna Giese doubled and drove in three runs. Maggie Rizor also was 2 for 3 with a double and MacKenzie Maxwell added a double. Giese pitched five innings, allowing five hits.
After losing to Rockford, Delano bounced back in the loser’s bracket to again beat Mound-Westonka, this time 12-5 on 13 hits and one error. The Tigers had five errors against Rockford.
Giese pitched the win, yielding six hits. She also batted 2 for 3 with a home run. Noetzelman was 2 for 2 with a home run and a double. Emmer was 3 for 3 while doubles were hit by Savanah Bettin and Maxwell.