BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
The only thing that slowed Rockford’s softball team last week was the muddy roads leading to the renovated field.
Otherwise, an offensive onslaught produced 42 runs in three victories to start the season. Rockford edged Delano 12-11 in a game moved from Rockford to Delano due to wet roads. The new field was in great shape and ready to go.
Senior Kaylee Schumacher celebrated her 18th birthday by blasting a double to score the winning run in the last of the seventh. The Rockets entered the final frame trailing 11-9. Senior catcher Megan Bode singled to drive in two runs to tie the game.
Both teams slammed out 14 hits. Rockford got two each from sophomore Hannah Carlson, sophomore Caitlin McNeal, Bode, senior Megan Westrup and Schumacher.
Starting pitcher sophomore Bria Majeski allowed four earned runs as Rockford had four errors. Sophomore Allison McNeal pitched the last two innings.
Other Rockets provided key hits to drive home runs including doubles by Carlson, junior Brianna Calder, Allison McNeal and Bode. Caitlin McNeal added a 2-run single and sophomore Payton Palmer’s double set up two runs scored in the sixth.
“It was good to be challenged right away early in the season,” said coach Dawn Engebretson. “We will be pushed all season after the success we had last year when going to state. I was most proud that we never got rattled when we fell behind. We played with confidence and it was nice to see everyone did the job when needed.”
Rockford won both games at the Watertown-Mayer tournament Saturday. First came a 23-0 win in five innings over Providence Academy. After three innings the Rockets were up 4-0, and then scored 19 runs in the fourth inning. Rockford was aided by 13 walks and every player saw action.
In the closer second game, Rockford defeated Watertown-Mayer 7-2. Allison McNeal pitched the first 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing two runs. Majeski relieved and shut down WM the rest of the way, striking out nine.
Calder drove in the first Rocket run after Carlson had singled and stole second. Engebretson said her team played great defense. Catcher Bode threw out runners at second and third base and outfielder Westrup threw out a runner at home.
Rockford scored in the fourth on singles by Caitlin McNeal and Schumacher, followed by a passed ball. In the fifth, Calder singled and scored on a double by Bode. In the seventh the big hit was a 3-run double by Schumacher. Calder went 4-4, while Caitlin McNeal and Schumacher were both 2 for 4.
The new four field softball complex has lights. Rockford will attempt to use it when it plays host to Kimball Area, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17. The team hits the road for games at Maple Lake Monday, April 21 and at Eden Valley-Watkins Thursday, April 24.
The Rockford tournament is set for Saturday, April 26 with Robbinsdale-Cooper, Bemidji and Minneapolis Washburn competing. Action starts at 10 a.m.