While the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship (often referred to as “March Madness”) is in full swing, the Riverside-Brookfield High School softball team kicked off its season in unique style with a “Midnight Madness” split-squad doubleheader against Morton and Kaneland over the weekend. Technically, the Bulldogs began play at 10 p.m. on Saturday and played four games through till 1:30 a.m. Sunday against the Mustangs and Knights at the McCook Athletic & Exposition Center (MAX).

RBHS earned a split of the four five-inning contests with 5-3 and 7-6 wins over Morton but 10-1 and 19-2 losses to Kaneland.

“I thought the night went very well; having Morton and Kaneland with us was great,” RBHS coach Doug Schultz said. “Kaneland traveled a bit to play us and we appreciate that. [Kaneland] is an outstanding team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them Downstate by the end of the year. Morton is another solid team and an area rival. For us, it was just great to finally play some games and see some other teams.”

The Bulldogs benefitted by playing 20 players in multiple games against a pair of solid opponents. Schultz coached one of the teams for RBHS while coach Jame Holt managed the other squad. Schultz takes over for John Vermillion, who was the Bulldogs’ head coach last season.

“Our teams were evenly split in terms of talent,” Schultz said. “I think we executed well in some situations. Each one of our player’s found something she did well and something she can improve on.”

Three-year varsity player Katie O’Connell went 4-for-5 and freshman Marrisa McDermott finished 3-for-5. Juniors Tricia Scalise and Liz DiMonte along with promising sophomores Taylor Holin and Kendall Hastings chipped in two hits apiece. Kate Kosner belted the Bulldogs first home run on the season. Overall, 15 players recorded at least one hit for RBHS.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to host Queen of Peace on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. (March 26) although the game remains in question.

“Our home field in North Riverside isn’t ready so we’re looking into finding an alternative site,” Schultz said.

Upcoming home games against area rivals include Nazareth (4:30 p.m./April 3) and Lyons Township (11:00 a.m./April 5).

The Bulldogs begin Metro Suburban Conference play against visiting Elmwood Park on April 8 at 4:30 p.m.