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  • Val T.

‘The girls just fed off each other:’ Field, Medina have 3 RBIs each, lead Lady Zs in semifinal rout of North Judson

BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


Jadyn Field Gabby Medina


Jadyn Field and Gabby Medina had three RBIs each, and Aubrey Wilson went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and five stolen bases as the Rochester softball team handled North Judson 15-3 in five innings in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 semifinal at Fansler Field Tuesday.

Rochester improved to 15-9 and will face Pioneer in the sectional final at 6:30 p.m. today. The No. 12 Lady Panthers eliminated Wabash 9-4 in the other semifinal.

North Judson finished 10-13.

Bria Rensberger added three hits and an RBI at the plate, and she also allowed one earned run in four innings in the circle for the win. She walked the first two batters of the game and finished with four walks and nine strikeouts.

Mia Howdeshell closed the game with a 1-2-3 fifth in relief.


Rochester freshman Brailyn Hunter slides home safely while scoring on Jadyn Field’s RBI single in the bottom of the third inning of the Lady Zs’ 15-3 win in five innings over North Judson in a Class 2A, Sectional 37 semifinal Tuesday. Rochester will face Pioneer in the sectional final at 6:30 p.m. today. (photo by Chris Bake/RTC)


Brailyn Hunter had two hits and two RBIs, and Aubrey Miller had two hits and two runs scored.

Though the Lady Zs had beaten Lewis Cass 3-2 on Monday in the quarterfinals, Rochester coach Jim Coleman said the effort did not represent “Zebra softball.”

With five freshmen in the lineup, the team appeared less tight than it did 24 hours earlier, according to Coleman.

“We played much more relaxed and confident,” Coleman said. “Our approach tonight was totally different from what it was last night. For us to be successful, we have to win as a team. And tonight, in the box, our approach was so much better. The girls just fed off each other, and that’s the style that this team is capable of. I’m very proud of how we handled ourselves in the box, with the bat, bunting the ball, advancing the baserunners and our awareness on the basepaths tonight. As far as what I would like to see out of a team, tonight was a great example of that.”

The Lady Jays took a 2-0 lead in the first on Anna Garbison’s two-run single, but Rochester followed with 12 unanswered runs off North Judson sophomore hurler Molly Madsen.

Not only did the Lady Zs steal eight bases as a team, but Miller had a bunt double following Wilson’s leadoff single.

Hunter sent a sharp grounder to center for a two-run single to tie it.

Two batters later, Rensberger chopped a single off Madsen’s glove and into center field for an RBI single that gave Rochester their first lead at 3-2.

The bottom of the second inning began with Madsen striking out Darah Strasser on a change-up. It was not a harbinger of things to come.

Wilson singled and stole second and went to third when Miller reached on an infield single on a high chopper over Madsen.

Miller stole second.

Hunter walked, and when ball four was a wild pitch to the backstop, Wilson came into score, Miller took third, and Hunter hustled all the way to second.

Field’s hard spinning grounder deflected off the second baseman and into center field for a two-run single to drive home Miller and Hunter and make it 6-2.

Rensberger reached on a bunt single, and Field hustled to third, and when the throw from first base across the diamond hit Field in the back, Rensberger moved up to second on the error.

Mylee Heinzmann walked to load the bases, and Howdeshell grounded into a forceout at the plate on a bunt attempt.

That brought up Medina, who jumped on the first pitch and sent a double to the left-center field fence for a three-run double that scored courtesy runner Keyton Doran, Heinzmann and Howdeshell to make it 9-2.

“Go back three or four weeks, and Gabby was really struggling in the box,” Coleman said. “We had her flexed for about a week and a half. I think it was the Whitko game I put her back in the batting lineup, and since then, she just has been seeing the ball really well. … We did a fake bunt swing, and she stayed back, pulled her hands back really well and drove through the ball. It’s something that early in the season she was struggling with. She’s been doing a great job staying on the ball and staying inside of her swing, where early in the season, she was swinging so hard and pulling that front shoulder out.”

Medina then surreptitiously stole third on a throw back from the catcher to the pitcher. Strasser was hit by a pitch and stole second.

Wilson, the team leader in RBIs with 22, then chopped a two-run single to center to make it 11-2. Wilson then stole second. Then she stole third, and when the throw to try and get her at third was dropped for an error, Wilson hustled home to make it 12-2.

“When we have the right girls on base, we can really be aggressive,” Coleman said. “This team, we have a lot of speed, whether it’s top, middle or bottom. I like being aggressive, and to have field awareness like Wilson has and like Aubrey Miller has, those girls make it fun.”

Sophia Chaffins scored on an error in the top of the third to make it 12-3, but Field had an RBI single, courtesy runner Lillee Conley scored on a passed ball, and Heinzmann had an RBI groundout to complete the scoring.

Rochester 15, North Judson 3 (5 innings)

North Judson 201 00 – 3 2 1

Rochester 393 0X – 15 13 1

WP – Bria Rensberger (4 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 K)

LP – Molly Madsen (4 IP, 13 H, 15 R, 13 ER, 4 BB, 1 HBP, 6 K)

2B – Aubrey Miller (RHS), Gabby Medina (RHS)


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