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College softball: Ridgewater out-slugs Minnesota West

TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Minnesota West’s Olivia Hopwood (2) rounds third with Breanna Nelson and Becca Linder following behind after Linder blasted a 3-run home run in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Ridgewater.1 / 2
TIM MIDDAGH/DAILY GLOBE Minnesota West left fielder Rachael Evans (11) reaches in front of center fielder Taylor Noid to pull in a fly ball Tuesday during the Lady Jays' home doubleheader against Ridgewater.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — Cliches often become what they are because they’re true.

Tuesday, Minnesota West found itself on the wrong end of two of the most used phrases in sports. That led MCAC Southern Division losses of 9-6 and 19-10 to Ridgewater.

“In the first game, we hit the ball hard but we hit it right at them,” Lady Jays coach Jeff Linder said. “In the second game it was another old cliche: They hit it where we weren’t.”

The opener started with a bang. McKayla Lobitz and Jacie Selseth scored in the top of the first on an infield hit by Kaitlyn Kienholz and a throwing error. That gave Ridgewater a 2-0 lead, but the Lady Jay bats came out smoking hot as well.

Rebecca Kazemba ripped a leadoff single and came around to score on a basehit by Olivia Hopwood. Breanna Nelson followed with a bunt hit that gave West two runners on for cleanup batter Becca Linder. She hit one high and deep to straightaway centerfield that cleared the fence, putting the Lady Jays on top 4-2. A two-out double to right-center by Maer Abella gave the home team another threat, but Warriors pitcher Katelyn Durbin was able to prevent further damage.

That lead held until the top of the third. The visitors got one back when Kienholz grounded out to second with runners on second and third. West pitcher Tayler Wasmund was able to retire the next two batters, but Jordin Delzer came through with a clutch hit. She smoked a triple to deep right and, on a Lady Jays throwing error, came in to score herself. Suddenly, West was looking at a 5-4 deficit.

The Warriors increased their advantage on Sydney Knudsen’s second two-bagger of the day that plated two runners in the top of the fourth. But Kazemba singled and scored in the home half of the inning to keep West within reach.

A 2-spot in the fifth gave Ridgewater its largest lead of the opener, 9-5, before the Lady Jays could answer. That came in the bottom of the seventh when Taylor Noid scored on a Kazemba groundout.

“Becca Linder hit the ball really well in the first game,” Coach Linder said. “We had quite a few players who — if you don’t necessarily look at the batting average — hit the ball really hard. We just couldn’t put anything together.”

Wasmund took the loss for the Lady Jays, allowing nine runs — six earned — on 14 hits while striking out six and walking two. Linder led the way at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and a run scored. Kazemba was 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI while Hopwood went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Wasmund helped herself with two hits, including a double.

In the nightcap, the Lady Jay bats exploded for six runs in the second, giving them home team a 7-4 lead. The tide quickly turned, however, when Ridgewater hung a 9-spot during its next turn at the plate.

“We just had a really bad inning in that third inning,” Coach Linder said. “They were hitting the ball well and, defensively in the outfield, we weren’t getting the ball in quick enough. That allowed them to take extra bases and score.”

Kazemba took the loss in the pitcher’s circle. She allowed 16 earned runs on 22 hits, struck out five and walked three. Abella went 2-for-3 with two RBIs while both Nelson and Wasmund were 2-of-3 at the plate with an RBI each.

West (3-6 overall, 2-4 Southern) is back on its home field at 3 p.m. Friday for a doubleheader against St. Cloud Tech.

R H E

Ridge 203 220 0 — 9 14 2

West 400 101 0 — 6 12 4

R H E

Ridge 229 24 — 19 22 2

West 160 03 — 10 10 4

Zach Hacker

Zach is the Daily Globe sports reporter. He has previously been a sports editor at both the Waseca County News in Waseca, Minn., and The Emporia Gazette in Emporia, Kansas. He is originally from New Richland, Minn., and now lives in Worthington with his dog; a beagle-corgi mix named Homer. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on St. Olaf Lake and watching professional and collegiate sports.

(507) 376-7335
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