Northfield beats No. 4 Caston in sectional semifinal
Mollenkopf, Hinderlider, Zimpleman have multi-hit games, but Lady Comets finish 22-4
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
DENVER – Abigail Hunter pitched a 10-hitter with five strikeouts in the circle and added two hits and an RBI at the plate to lead the Northfield softball team to a 7-4 win over No. 4 Caston in a Class 1A, Sectional 52 semifinal at North Miami Wednesday.
Northfield scored three runs off Caston starter Addison Zimpleman in the top of the first inning and never trailed.
Northfield improved to 15-9. Caston finished the season 22-4.
Caston elected to walk Northfield leadoff hitter Addi Baker in all four plate appearances. Three of the walks occurred with the bases empty. She came around to score once after the walks.
Baker, Northfield’s leadoff hitter and shortstop, homered in Northfield’s 4-2 win over No. 2 North Miami two days earlier in the quarterfinals. A Southern Illinois signee, Baker came into the game with a .538 batting average and 13 homers.
Six different Lady Norse players had a hit and six different players had an RBI.
Kinzie Mollenkopf had three hits, and Macee Hinderlider and Zimpleman had two hits each for Caston. Eillie Deming, Maddi Smith and Annie Harsh had one RBI each.
Trailing 7-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Caston had the bases loaded with nobody out against Hunter, but Isabel Scales lined into a double play, and Caston did not score.
Mollenkopf and Zimpleman had RBI hits in the bottom of the seventh, but Northfield held on.
Caston scored its other two runs in the bottom of the third. Smith singled, stole second and third and scored on a passed ball that got trickled approximately five feet from the catcher.
Annie Harsh’s two-out RBI single got Caston within 3-2.
But Kenzie Baer had an RBI single and Crysta Kowalczuk an RBI double in the top of the fourth as Northfield re-assumed a three-run lead. Mollenkopf replaced Zimpleman in the circle in the fourth.
After Baker was walked to lead off the fifth, Jenna Krom doubled to the right-center field gap to score Baker and make it 6-2. Kyra Kennedy drove in Krom with a bloop single to make it 7-2.
Caston ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the coaches poll on May 10. They were 19-1 at the time and went 3-3 the rest of the season.
No. 3 West Central beat Southwood 10-2 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
Northfield then went on to beat West Central 2-0 in the sectional final Thursday, beating its third top-five team in four days for the title. The Northfield-West Central game was moved up from Friday due to forecasts of inclement weather.
The sectional title is the first in Northfield softball history.
Northfield 7, Caston 4
Northfield 300 220 0 – 7 8 2
Caston 002 000 2 – 4 10 0
WP – Abigail Hunter (7 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K)
LP – Addison Zimpleman (3 ⅔ IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K)
2B – Krom (NF), Kowalczuk (NF), A. Hunter (NF), Mollenkopf (CAS)