Several players have taken on starring roles for the Riverside-Brookfield softball team this season. Becky Mantel’s turn to shine occurred last week as the versatile centerfielder went 6-for-10 with four home runs, nine RBIs and six runs scored over three games.

During the Bulldogs’ lone loss – an 11-4 setback to undefeated Richards on Saturday – Mantel belted a two-run homer in the first inning to give her team a brief 2-0 lead. Richards responded with six runs over three innings to seize a 6-2 lead midway through the game. In the bottom of the fifth, Kiley Rusen and Molly Ely both singled for RB, paving the way for Emily Hastings’ two-RBI hit, which whittled the score to 6-4. Unfortunately, RB committed four errors over the final two innings as Richards (25-0) tacked on five runs en route to a deceptively lopsided victory.

“We had 10 hits against [Richards’] Brianna LeBeau, one of the top pitchers in the state,” RB coach John Vermillion said. “In the last couple of innings we just made too many errors. We can’t afford to do that against any team let alone the top-ranked team.”

The Bulldogs (19-7, 7-3 Metro Suburban Conference) still enjoyed a productive week by nabbing a couple of league wins against Timothy Christian. Riverside-Brookfield cruised past the visiting Trojans 12-2 on Thursday. After Timothy Christian plated a pair of runs in the top of the first, RB answered back with six runs in the bottom of the frame highlighted by Rusen’s leadoff homer.

With RB up 9-2 in the sixth, Tierney Duffy laced a single that was quickly followed by back-to-back homers from Mantel (2-run HR) and Emily Hastings (solo HR) to end the game. Maggie Zeleny (3-for-3) and Ashlee Haugh (2-for-3) also contributed to the Bulldogs’ offense, which totaled 16 hits.

Riverside-Brookfield defeated Timothy Christian 10-0 in five innings last week. Mantel set the tone for her monster week by blasting a three-run round tripper in the first inning. Cassie Cook added a two-RBI double. In the second inning, Molly Ely hit a single setting up Mantel’s second homer, a two-run shot extending the RB lead to 7-0.

“Obviously, Becky had an amazing week in terms of hitting,” Vermillion said. “I hope she keeps it up the rest of the season.”

Rusen (4 HRs, 31 RBIs, .511 avg.) and Mantel (5 HRs, 24 RBIs, .479 avg.) lead RB in hitting.

The Bulldogs close the regular season at Ridgewood on Thursday. The playoffs start next week with the Bulldogs as the top seed in the Class 3A St. Francis Sectional.

“We’re right where we should be at this point of the season,” Vermillion said. “We have two quality pitchers in Kylie O’Connell and Rachel Denneny. If we pitch well and play good defense, I think we can do well in the playoffs.”