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  • Val T.

Rensberger strikes out 8 in a row, but Southwood’s Lambert’s 5 RBIs spoil Lady Z TRC opener

Rochester’s Wilson has 3 hits, including 2-run homer


Sports Editor, RTC

Bria Rensberger Aubrey Wilson

Grace Lambert tripled twice and drove in five runs, and Natalie Sutphin walked none and struck out 11 in a complete-game performance in the circle as the Southwood softball team beat Rochester 7-3 in the Three Rivers Conference opener for both teams at Fansler Field Wednesday.

The loss spoiled a 12-strikeout night from Rochester freshman pitcher Bria Rensberger. After walking Rylee Thomas to lead off the game, she struck out eight consecutive batters, blowing away hitters with her speed and getting them to flail at her change-up and curve.

The loss also spoiled a 3-for-3 performance at the plate for freshman shortstop Aubrey Wilson. She cracked a two-run homer in the third – it was the first of her career – to left-center to give the Lady Zs a 2-0 lead, and she also led off the sixth with a triple and later scored on a wild pitch.

Darah Strasser had two hits and a run scored, and Aubrey Miller and Jadyn Field had one hit each.

Southwood improved to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the TRC. Rochester dropped to 3-5, 0-1.

Rensberger had a one-hit shutout through four innings, and she retired the first two batters in the fifth before six straight Southwood hitters reached base.

Lili Combs walked, and Hali Pershing singled to right to move Combs to second. Rochester tried to throw Pershing out at first from right field, but the throw was wild for an error and went all the way to the backstop behind home plate. Combs hustled all the way home and beat Field’s throw to the plate with a headfirst slide as Rensberger covered.

It was 2-1, and the lineup turned over to the top.

Thomas reached on an infield single with Pershing moving to third. Thomas stole second. Rensberger then hit Rowan Goodpasture with a pitch to load the bases.

That brought up Lambert, a sophomore catcher who came in with a .333 average but who had gone hitless with a strikeout and a pop-up to first base in her previous at-bats. This time, she socked a deep fly to the opposite field over the right fielder’s head.

Pershing, Thomas and Goodpasture all scored, and when the throw to try and get Lambert at third was wild for an error, Lambert came in to score to make it 5-2.

“We have so much youth, and with youth, you make errors,” Rochester acting coach Scot Howdeshell said. “That’s just part of the growing process with these girls. They’re going to get there. They’re just going to have to take their lumps along the way.”

Meanwhile, Sutphin retired eight consecutive batters after Wilson’s homer, but Wilson got to her again for a triple to right-center in the sixth. The wild pitch made it 5-3.

But Pershing led off the seventh with her second hit, and Thomas reached on an error. Two batters later, Lambert laced another triple to deep right field to score Pershing and Thomas and make it 7-3.

Rochester rocked Sutphin for seven runs in 2 ⅔ innings – the since-graduated Kallie Watson homered off her – in a 19-8 win in five innings last year at Southwood. 

This time, she allowed singles to Miller and Wilson to start the game, giving Rochester runners at second and third with nobody out. But she came back to strike out Brailyn Hunter, Rensberger and Field to get out of the jam.

Wilson was the only Rochester baserunner to get into scoring position over the final six innings.

“Very consistent,” Howdeshell said. “Great pitcher. We faced her a lot last year too, and we hit the girl alright, but we didn't hit them in the holes where they belong. So, great pitching.”

Head coach Jim Coleman and assistant coach David Musselman have not been seen at the ballpark since both were ejected from a game against Logansport on April 10. This was their third straight missed game.

The Logansport game was deemed a forfeit loss. It’s unclear if Coleman and Musselman were suspended, or if they were, for how long.

The umpire’s report of the events of that day, which appeared to start with a dispute over balls and strikes and morphed into a dispute over the granting of a timeout and whether a coach has the right to talk to his players after an ejection, has not been made public.

Howdeshell is also serving as third base coach, a role that Coleman also typically handles. Assistant coach Billy Medina served as the first base coach Wednesday, a job typically handled by Musselman.

“I think Jim will be back the 24th (against Manchester), and Musselman will follow five days after that,” Howdeshell said. “That’s about all I got on that.”

Southwood 7, Rochester 3

Southwood 000 050 2 – 7 7 0

Rochester 002 001 0 – 3 7 3

WP – Natelie Sutphin (7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

LP – Bria Rensberger (7 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 12 K)

3B – Grace Lambert 2 (SW), Aubrey Wilson (RHS)

HR – Aubrey Wilson (RHS)

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