Riverside B. 4
While some of the Riverside-Brookfield softball players took the Illinois Prairie State Achievement Exam last week, the Bulldogs also kept their focus on another upcoming test: the softball postseason.
The Bulldogs (10-3, 2-0 Metro Suburban Conference) passed the early portion of their conference schedule test with flying colors by taking two games from Ridgewood 4-0 (Friday) and 5-1 (Thursday).
“I’m still trying all kinds of different things to find our best lineup,” RB coach Dan Hull said. “We want to play well [now] and win conference, but a top priority is playing our best softball in the playoffs.”
Riverside-Brookfield junior Morgan Vogel (4-2) threw a complete game three-hitter during Friday’s 4-0 victory. The Bulldogs scored two runs in the first inning as Lindsay Hayes (double) and Jessie Hutchens (single) both collected RBI hits. In the sixth, Vogel singled and Hutchens reached base via an error. After they advanced to second and third on a groundout, Becky Mantel slapped a timely two-RBI single to secure the win.
On the previous day, Hayes (5-1) tossed a three-hitter. She struck out seven to lift RB to a 5-1 victory.
“I feel we have a great pitching staff,” Hayes said. “Morgan and I work really well together. We have some really talented younger pitchers, too, like [freshman] Kiley O’Connell.”
Trailing the host Rebels 1-0 early on Thursday, RB responded with three runs in the fifth capped off by key hits from Liz Demitro (RBI single) and Fallon Ryan (two-RBI double). Hutchens led off the seventh with a double and scored on another double from Mantel to push the score to 4-1. Freshman Kiley Rusen (2-for-4) added a single later in the frame to score Mantel.
“I think our team performed pretty well,” Hayes said. “Sometimes we haven’t hit very well until the later stages of games. That’s a trend we would like to change by scoring runs earlier in games.”
Riverside-Brookfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Rebels at Veteran’s Park in North Riverside on Saturday before the game was suspended due to weather.
After Vogel moved into scoring position on a fielder’s choice and a stolen base, Hayes brought her home with an RBI single. The Bulldogs tacked on a run in the third when Rachel Buccieri led off with a single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly.
“The hardest thing with kids is to beat another team – especially if that other team is decent (like Ridgewood) – several times in a row,” Hull said. ” [Ridgewood] gets fired up to play us, so we can’t just roll our gloves out onto the field.”