By David Keech
April 28, 2015
Wisconsin Rapids — The Wisconsin Rapids Red Raider softball team came into Tuesday’s tilt with conference-leading Merrill hoping to put themselves right back into contention for the conference title. Behind a strong pitching performance by Allison Brost and aggressive baserunning, Rapids did just that, downing the Blue Jays 4-0.
In the early going, both teams had their chances to stake out a lead. The Blue Jays had two runners on in the first with two outs, but Brost nipped the Blue Jays’ hopes.
Rapids had two runners on in the second inning with just one out, but Merrill counterpart MaKayla Heckendorf was able to keep the Raiders at bay.
Brost and Heckendorf were strong on the hill in the first three innings, each racking up four strikeouts.
Rapids’ Head Coach Isaac Holberg noted Brost was in control of the game and was impressive on the mound once again. “Allison has been placing the ball right where it needs to be. She has had batters baffled, they’re on their front feet, she has them off balance.”
Brost noted that keeping things unpredictable was key. “I kept mixing it up, with pitches and the pitch count. I try to keep them off balance, and that worked tonight.”
Some aggressive baserunning by Rapids in the fourth gave Brost all the runs she would need. Madison Bogie and MaKenna Nieman led off with singles. With two outs and runners on second and third, Heckendorf appeared to have the Raiders’ hopes dashed. Kayla Buss reached on an error, however, scoring Bogie.
Then the Raiders caught the Blue Jays off guard. Buss’ attempted to steal second, and was safe when the throw was bobbled. Rapids Coach Isaac Holberg had put on the double steal, and Nieman slid under the tag at the plate and knocked the ball loose. giving Rapids a 2-0 lead.
“All year we’ve been talking about making teams play our brand of softball. The double steal was planned, and we took control of the game by being aggressive,” explained Holberg.
The Raiders came up with two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Emily Jungwirth’s home run to left center was obviously gone once it left the bat, punctuating a stellar performance by Rapids on the evening.
“The pitch was where I liked it, it felt good,” said Jungwirth.
“Emily is swinging the bat really well now, and she really got ahold of that one. It’s good to see her get her stroke back,” shared Holberg.