Many people figured that the Metro Suburban Conference Championship essentially would be a two-team race between Riverside Brookfield and Elmwood Park. Fenton has now emerged as the league frontrunner after taking two of three games against the Bulldogs last week.
In the critical rubber-match of the three-game set, Fenton pulled out a 1-0 victory in eight innings over the Bulldogs last Thursday. The victory propelled the Bison into the top spot of the Metro Suburban Conference with a 5-1 mark, followed by Elmwood Park at 4-2 and RB at 3-3.
Although the Bulldogs managed just four hits against Fenton, plenty of scoring opportunities were available. On four occasions, RB had runners in scoring position with no outs but failed to put any runs on the board. April Hutchens, Jaimie Duffek, Alison Durec and Liz Demitro each collected a hit for the Bulldogs, who have struggled mightily at their “temporary” home field of Veteran’s Park in North Riverside.
“What’s killing me is that we’re not playing our games at RB,” said Riverside Brookfield coach Dan Hull. “We have lost four out of our five games at North Riverside. In all of the losses, the wind was blowing in, which really levels the playing field. It hurts the better hitting team.”
A day before their 1-0 setback, the Bulldogs (16-5, 3-3) looked liked a completely different club on the road, routing Fenton 12-0 to square the series at 1-1.
Emma Forsberg tossed a complete game three-hitter and struck out eight en route to the impressive shutout.
Offensively, the Bulldogs scored three runs in the first inning and cranked out 16 hits for the game. Jessie Hutchens (3-for-3, 5 RBIs), Lindsay Hayes (2-for-5, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Fallon Ryan (2-for-5, RBI, run), Morgan Vogel (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and the Drake-bound Duffek (3-for-5, RBIs, 2 runs) led the offensive onslaught.
The host Bulldogs dropped the series opener with a 4-3 loss to Fenton on April 29. RB starting pitcher Morgan Vogel turned in an outstanding effort, going six innings, striking out 10 and allowing two earned runs. Jessie Hutchens had a triple and two RBIs and April Hutchens added two hits and an RBI.
“The kids are upbeat,” Hull said. “The team is playing well. At times, we are even playing fantastic, but I still don’t think we have reached our potential. The consistency isn’t quite there.”