Two more softball playoff wins put Rockford in winner’s bracket final

Sophomore Alexa Heidgerken plays at second base for Rockford’s fastpitch team that advanced to the winner’s bracket finals in the playoffs. (Photo by Bill Nord)

By David Pedersen

Crow River News

Rockford won two more Section 5A fastpitch softball games last week, advancing to the winner’s bracket finals on Tuesday of this week, after this issue went to press.

The top two seeds in both the east and west sub-sections stayed alive to be among the four teams standing in the tournament being played in Rockford.

After defeating Holy Family 5-2 in the first round, Rockford dominated Southwest Christian 7-1 and Glencoe Silver Lake 5-3 last week.

Rockford, the No. 2 seed in the east sub-section, was to face Maple Lake, No. 1 seed in the west sub-section. The winner advances to the section finals, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1 with a second game to follow if needed.

The loser of Rockford-Maple Lake game played again Tuesday against either Annandale, No. 2 west, or Norwood-Young America, No. 1 east. That winner advances to the finals Thursday.

“We came out and put two runs on the board in the first inning and that threw them off,” said coach Dawn Engebretson. “Emili Cain pitched a great game and hit her spots well. She only gave up one hit in seven innings, striking out nine. We did have some errors but we worked through them.”

Cain was 3 for 4 with two runs scored and drove in one run. Samantha FitzSimmons was 2 for 3 and also drove in a run. In the third inning Rockford scored three runs on either a passed ball or wild pitch.

Glencoe-Silver Lake had upset two higher seeds in the tournament, including No. 1 NYA. Rockford had base runners on in each inning.

“We couldn’t get that magical well-timed hit to score more runs,” adds Engebretson. “We left nine runners on base, including the bases loaded in the second inning.”

Alexa Heidgerken walked to score the first Rockford run. In the fifth, Michalie Zilmer had her second hit of the day. Sara Byers was brought in as a pinch runner. She stole second and scored on a double by FitzSimmons to tie the score at 2-2.

GSL took a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Madeline Altmann led off the bottom of the inning by collecting her third hit of the game. Rockford would score three runs with key hits by Heidgerken, Cain, Grace Rootness and Zilmer, who had three hits.

Cain pitched three innings, allowing two runs on two hits. Rootness worked four innings, yielding one run on two hits. Zilmer and Altmann both had three hits and Heidgerken was 2 for 2.

Rockford faced Maple Lake earlier in the week and won 7-3 when it also could not get a timely hit.