As expected, the Riverside-Brookfield High School softball team cruised to the Class 3A Longwood Regional title. The prohibitive favorite Bulldogs blasted St. Joseph 15-3 in the championship game on Saturday.
Senior Kristin Kleinmeyer threw four innings, allowed just one earned run, three hits, and struck out four Chargers. Freshman Emily Hastings crushed a bases-clearing double that broke the game open in the second inning. Already up 3-0, the Bulldogs scored eight runs during their explosive second inning. Jessie Hutchens added a pair of doubles and collected four RBIs on the day.
RB (31-4) opened the postseason with a 13-0 victory against Cristo Rey. Sophomore pitcher Kylie O’Connell just missed a perfect game, walking one batter. Save that free pass, O’Connell was untouchable, striking out 11 over five innings of efficient work.
Hutchens went 2-for-4 with a pair of homers knocking in five runs, while Liz Demitro went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run. Kiley Rusen also blasted a solo homer for RB, which scored six runs in the second inning and five more in the fourth.
“Everybody played [in the regional] which is good,” RB coach Dan Hull said. “I think that really helps this team. If I need anybody to play or pinch-run, it’s not like they have been sitting on the bench all season.”
About the only uncertainty surrounding the Bulldogs these days has been the health of senior pitcher Morgan Vogel. Missing action for about a month due to a back injury, the Bulldogs’ ace gave up two runs, two hits and a walk in a brief appearance against St. Joseph.
“I think the world of Kristin Kleinmeyer and Kylie O’Connell, but I hope we’ll have Morgan available,” Hull said. “We’ll see how she does in practice. I know she has been working a lot with our trainer.”
The Glenbard South sectional also could offer its share of unpredictability as the top-seeded Bulldogs will battle three solid teams in Glenbard South, Trinity and Nazareth for the title.
RB, which beat Nazareth 18-5 during the regular season, takes on the revenge-minded Roadrunners today at 4:30 p.m., while the Raiders meet Trinity on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the other semifinal. Winners advance to the championship game on Saturday at 11 a.m.
“I hope our kids don’t go into the Nazareth game thinking it’s going to be easy,” Hull said. “Nazareth has really improved. Plus, they are going to be fired up after the way we beat them last time.”