Prep softball: A breakout for RRC/WWG

WINDOM -- Jamie Derickson got a chance to start Thursday. She didn't waste it.The Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove junior outfielder finished her team's season opener 2-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs, a double and a run scored. That hel...

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Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Dani Wacker (17) slides into home plate safely ahead of the tag from Windom Area catcher Maurissa Isaacs during the fifth inning of the Falcons’ 18-4 nonconference win to open the season. ZACH HACKER/DAILY GLOBE


WINDOM - Jamie Derickson got a chance to start Thursday. She didn’t waste it.
The Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove junior outfielder finished her team’s season opener 2-for-4 at the plate with five RBIs, a double and a run scored. That helped the Falcons to an 18-4 nonconference win over Windom Area.
“Last year I didn’t get to start,” Derickson said. “I got to start the first game of the year and my goal coming in was to do a lot better hitting. I think I’ve improved quite a bit.”
It didn’t take her long at all to show off the strides she’s made. RRC/W-WG already held a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when she stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. She got into a Faith Willard offering and sent one high and deep to left-center field. The ball one-hopped the fence as Mikayla Myers, Rachel Kedl and Taylor Price all raced around to score.
After the game, Derickson said her approach for the early-game pressure situation was simple.
“I just took a couple deep breaths and told myself to stay calm,” she said. “I just had to get ready and be aggressive.”
The visitors were far from being done in their first at-bat of the season.
The bases were juiced again with two outs when Kedl came up for her second plate appearance of the opening frame. She cracked a shot to right-center that scored Theresa Merrick, Meghan Shannon and Mikayla Myers. A Windom Area throwing error allowed Kedl to cross the plate as well.
That wrapped up the Falcons’ scoring for the first inning. But they finished the stanza with 11 runs on four hits, five walks, three errors and a hit batter.
“That first inning was big for us,” said RRC/W-WG head coach Derek Stevenson, who was without the services of his three most veteran players due to a senior trip. “One thing we keep preaching is to be aggressive at the plate. I thought we did a nice job of that and we got some timely hits.”
The Eagles quickly bounced back, putting up two runs of their own in the home half of the inning.
Willard started the rally by legging out an infield single before stealing both second and third. She eventually raced home for her team’s first run on a passed ball. After Sydney Erickson drew a one-out walk, Maurissa Isaacs brought her around when she slugged a two-bagger to right-center. That brought the score to 11-2 heading into the second.
The Falcons added two more in the top of the third when Derickson dropped a bloop single in shallow right that scored Myers and Kedl. Again, Windom Area answered with runs scored from Jordyn Alm and Erickson.
“We’re really young,” said Eagles head coach Jessica Smith, who started two eighth-graders on the infield and had six of nine girls making their first varsity starts Thursday. “Overall I didn’t think we played bad. They just hit the ball really well. Overall I’m not disappointed in our effort at all.”
Willard settled down and pitched a solid game after a shaky first inning. Still, the Falcons kept hitting. Kedl - who finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs, a double and three runs scored - singled home a run with Myers and Price pushing one home apiece.
Dani Wacker and Hannah Stevenson scored a run each in the top of the fifth to bring the game to its final.
Stevenson earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing three earned runs on four hits while striking out five and walking four.
“She’s been working so hard,” Derickson said of her teammate. “Since she got hurt last year, she’s been working really hard on both her pitching and her hitting.”
Along with the aforementioned performances at the plate by Derickson and Kedl, Price was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Myers added three runs.
Nine of the 18 runs allowed by Willard were earned as she surrendered nine hits, struck out four and walked eight. Isaacs was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Erickson scored twice with Morgan Hockel adding an RBI.
The Eagles (0-1 overall) have an indoor scrimmage at Austin on Saturday. RRC/W-WG (1-0 overall) travels to Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Martin Luther on Monday.
“Hopefully this can start us on a roll,” coach Stevenson said. “We’ll look forward to incorporating our seniors and hopefully that will help us keep winning.”
RRC/W-WG (11)02 32 - 18 9 0
Windom 202 00 - 4 4 5

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