BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Four Rockford age group girls fastpitch teams stood out at recent tournaments, including the U12 team that qualified for the state tournament.
U14 wins Kimball title
The Rockford U14 softball team won the recent Kimball “Own the Zone” Tournament, posting a 4-1 record in the one-day event.
The Rockets opened with a 22-1 win over Hutchinson Gold. In the second game against South Central, Rockford blew open a 1-1 tie by scoring four runs in the fourth and win 5-1. A key hit was a 2-run single by Tori Nelson.
Rockford suffered a 13-7 loss to Hutchinson Black in the third game before rebounding with a 6-2 win over Kimball to set up a rematch with Hutch Black in the title game.
Trailing 4-3 entering the fifth, Rockford scored three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 8-5 lead. Hutchinson attempted a comeback, but the Rockets held on for an 8-7 victory and tourney title.
Madeline Altmann pitched all of the last two games, plus provided a triple in the championship game that scored two runs.
U16 team third in Kimball
Rockford’s U16 team claimed third place at the Own the Zone tournament in Kimball. Rockford opened with an 8-3, followed by a 14-0 loss to the Marty Mudcats.
The Rockets regained composure and dominated Monticello 14-1. In the third place game against the Annandale A’s, Rockford came from behind to win a wild one 11-10. Anya Cady drove in the winning run.
McKenzie Rentz played every game at catcher. She picked off a runner at third who was leading off. Cady threw out two runners at home plate from center field and made some “spectacular” catches.
Pitchers were Michalie Zilmer, Sam FitzSimmons, Brooke Beyer, Allison Pedersen, Kim Olson and Grace Rootness.
U12 qualifies for state
The Rockford U12 fastpitch team took home fourth place among 33 teams at the U12 C Division State Qualifier in Ham Lake.
The state tournament is July 12-13 at Caswell Park in North Mankato. The Rockets also qualified for a trip to the NAFA Nationals in Eagan, July 17-20.
Rockford outscored Richfield 10-1, sparked by Celia Hoffman’s inside the park home run and a triple by Tori Milow.
Games on Sunday were shortened to 45 minutes to get all of the games done in one day. Rockford edged Zimmerman 4-2 and Chanhassen 3-1. Hoffman tied the game and Milow drove in the winning runs.
Rockford next defeated Sartell 4-0 and lost to Brainerd 9-8. The third place game was a rematch with Sartell that Rockford won 8-2.
Rockford’s defense was strong throughout the weekend. Maddy Rentz pitched every game with a total of 22 strikeouts. Jayden Lark went 4 for 8 on the weekend with a double.
U8 wins league tourney title
The Rockford U8 Green fastpitch team recently took first place in the East Wright County league tournament.
The league featured eight teams from St. Michael and two teams from Rockford (Green and White). The Green team finished the regular season schedule with a 3-2-2 record to claim the regular season title.
After receiving a first round bye, Rockford won 5-1 and 2-0. In the championship game against St. Michael, Rockford jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
St. Michael scored three in the fourth to tie the game. The Rockets put together two hits in the last inning to score and win 4-3.