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Meeting their Aub-jective: Wilson, Miller have 4 hits each in Lady Z win over NM

Rensberger pitches 4-hitter as winning streak reaches 5


Sports Editor, RTC

Bria Rensberger Aubrey Wilson Aubrey Miller

DENVER — The Rochester softball team faced the Music Wednesday against North Miami and left with their winning streak still intact.

Bria Rensberger pitched a three-hit shutout with three walks and 10 strikeouts, and Aubrey Wilson and Aubrey Miller, the top two hitters in the Lady Z lineup, had four hits each as Rochester cruised to a 9-0 win that kept them within one game of Three Rivers Conference leader Southwood.

Southwood defeated Northfield 10-5 Wednesday and now stands at 6-1 in the TRC. Rochester has a 5-2 conference record. They have won five straight overall to improve to 10-9 overall.

Manchester is also 5-2, and Lewis Cass is 4-2.

North Miami dropped to 4-12, 2-4. They had gone 35-1 in the conference over the previous four conference seasons dating back to 2019. They lost to Rochester for the first time since April 30, 2018.

Gabby Medina and Brailyn Hunter added two hits each. Rensberger threw her sixth shutout of the season and her fourth in conference play.

“Definitely my outside fastball and my curve ball were working,” Rensberger said. “(The home plate umpire) didn’t really like low that much, so I had to keep it up in the zone a little bit, but mainly my fastball and my curve ball.”

North Miami played without two starters, outfielder Jordyn Hackworth and third baseman Jlynn Piercy. Hackworth was sick, and Piercy has an arm injury.

With Piercy out, Rochester took advantage of an error made by her replacement. With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Mylee Heinzmann hit a soft grounder that the third baseman had to charge. She elected to flip home for an attempt at a forceout, but her throw was offline, and Wilson scored.

North Miami pitcher Ashley Sumpter-Music then hit Mia Howdeshell with a pitch to force in Miller to make it 2-0.

In the second, Darah Strasser and Wilson started the inning with back-to-back doubles to make it 3-0. Miller singled Wilson to third. Two batters later, Jadyn Field reached on an error by the backup third baseman to score Wilson and make it 4-0.

Wilson’s two-out RBI single in the third scored Howdeshell to make it 5-0.

Rochester struck out only three times against Sumpter-Music and continued to put pressure on North Miami’s defense, even in two-strike counts.

“Just going back this week in practice, we set up and worked on hitting that outside pitch and making contact with two strikes and advancing the runner, something that we’ve struggled with up to this point in the season,” Rochester coach Jim Coleman said. “I think we got our 1-2 figured out. Moving Miller down to the two-hole, she’s much more comfortable. So yeah, those two at the top making contact and putting the pressure on the defense goes a long way for us.”

Meanwhile, Rensberger, who had allowed only two runs in her previous 21 conference innings, continued her penurious ways.

She retired seven straight batters to start on three groundouts and four strikeouts. She walked Chloe Sparks with one out in the third but struck out Brylee Edwards looking and Aricyn Hunt swinging.

Sumpter-Music broke up Rensberger’s no-hit bid after 3 ⅓ innings when she crushed a single off the right-center field fence.

Then came the game’s most confusing play and one that worked to Rochester’s advantage. Addison Miller hit a sinking liner at Wilson at shortstop. Wilson nabbed it and then threw to Mylee Heinzmann at second, who threw to Howdeshell at first. Miller appeared to be safe.

The umpires then concluded that Wilson caught Miller’s ball on the fly and that Heinzmann’s throw was in time to double up courtesy runner Lindsey Pugh, who had not tagged up.

Medina singled with one out in the fifth and scored when Wilson smoked a triple to the right-center field gap. Miller then legged out a grounder to Hunt’s left at second base for an RBI infield single to make it 7-0.

Heinzmann’s RBI double to left-center and Medina’s RBI single down the third baseline in the sixth completed the scoring.

North Miami had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth, but Rensberger struck out Chloe Sparks and got Edwards on a grounder with Heinzmann making a nifty play at second.

Heinzmann also made a running catch on Ashtyn Halterman’s foul fly and a nice stab and flip to Howdeshell to retire Edwards with the bases loaded to end the game.

Coleman praised the defensive work of Wilson and Heinzmann in the middle of the infield.

“She probably has the greatest range as far as our infield is concerned as anybody on the team,” Coleman said of Heinzmann’s defense. “She reads the ball very well off the bat, and her confidence at second base has continued to grow. And that goes back to her pushing through the offseason and winter months. She spent a lot of time in open gyms and stuff, and a lot of it was on her defense, and you’re seeing that this year.”

Rensberger said the team has gained trust in each other during their winning streak.

“We have a lot of confidence in our ability,” Rensberger said. “I think we’re finally getting to trust each other and play as a team instead of individually, and I think that’s really helping us.”

Said Coleman: “I think the girls are finally buying in.”

Rochester 9, North Miami 0

Rochester 221 022 0 – 9 16 0

North Miami 000 000 0 – 0 4 2

WP – Bria Rensberger (7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K)

LP – Ashley Sumpter-Music (7 IP, 16 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)

2B – Darah Strasser (RHS), Aubrey Wilson (RHS), Brailyn Hunter (RHS), Mylee Heinzmann (RHS)

3B – Aubrey Wilson (RHS)

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