The Bulldogs continue to roll.
The RB softball team, which has suffered from the injury bug all season, chose the right time to fire on all cylinders, marching through the Riverside Brookfield Regional championship tournament this past weekend. The Bulldogs first dispatched Nazareth 5-1 and then upset No. 2 seed Morton 2-0 for the championship.
RB, which was seeded seventh, got things rolling in the second inning against Morton when Alison Milani singled. Pinch hitter Emma Forsberg then sacrificed Milani to second. April Hutchens next knocked a single to plate Milani for a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs did not strike again until the fourth inning when Lindsay Hayes led off with a single. Milani then walked, but Morton got two quick outs and the Bulldog rally looked over. Once again, however, Hutchins was clutch at the plate delivering a single to score Hayes.
“Hutchens really has been swinging the bat well these past few weeks,” said RB coach Dan Hull. “The girls continue to play very well and hit well in the clutch – it has been very fun to watch.”
While the offense was doing its job, so was the Bulldog defense. Rachel Maas delivered a complete game, yielding seven hits and three strikeouts. RB also delivered with the glove, with second baseman Rachel Bucieri making a pinpoint throw to second to thwart the late-inning Morton rally to end the game.
Against Nazareth, April Hutchens and Rachel Buccieri both had hot bats, knocking in two RBI each. The Bulldog offense got rolling in the second inning when freshman Fallon Ryan singled. Sam Maas the sacrificed Fallon to second, followed by Hutchens triple to drive in Ryan. Christy Brewer then singled to drive in Hutchens. Getting off to a quick start was exactly what the Bulldogs needed, Hull said.
“It was really important to jump to 2-0 because it takes the pressure off,” he said. “When it gets to tournament time, you can throw records out the window. It really comes down to whoever is playing the best softball and we are really hitting our stride. We are getting contributions from everyone. Joann Castaldo’s pinch-running has been huge for us and just one example of the definition of team.”
Once again, Maas was a force in the circle, giving up just three hits and two walks to keep her ERA at a staggeringly low 0.94. Hull realizes how lucky he is to have such a talented pitcher.
“We are really good in defensively, so when Sam is pitching we really have been tough to beat,” he said. “Really, it is all starting to come together for us – Milani was out for a long time and now she is finally healthy. We are peaking at the perfect time.”
RB next faces Trinity Thursday in the first round of the sectional and if victorious will play the winner of Oak Park and Fenwick in the sectional final.