Richert, Tigers handle Chargers in 2A playoffs

Staff photo by Ari Selvey Springfield’s Emma Hauger rounds third base and heads for home during the first round of the Section 2A Softball Tournament against Minnesota Valley Lutheran on Wednesday.

SPRINGFIELD — A seven-run third inning propelled No. 4-seeded Springfield to a 11-1 win in five innings over No. 13-seeded Minnesota Valley Lutheran Wednesday at Riverside Park.

The win advanced the Tigers to the second round of the Section 2A Softball Tournament, as they look forward to hosting No. 5 Sleepy Eye on Thursday.

Jalivia Richert took home the win, striking out five while allowing one hit, one walk and one run in five innings.

Richert said everything seemed to be working for her in the circle as she mixed up her pitches

“Just my typical pitches, my fastball, changeup, rise ball,” Richert said. “Just typically everything, and throwing the ball in the right corners.”

At the plate for Springfield, Emma Hauger was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Jasmine Novotny was 3 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Abigail Groebner was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, and Brooklyn Sturm was 1 for 2 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Katlyn Stadick took the loss for MVL, allowing four earned runs on 12 hits and seven walks. Ashlyn Rodewald had the team’s lone hit, while Karlee Prahl picked up an RBI.

MVL head coach Katie Scherer gave credit to Richert for her pitching and defense in the game, saying she kept a good balance of pitches going throughout.

“We made contact, we just weren’t finding holes,” Scherer said. “We just kept hitting it back to Jalivia. She’s a very solid player, so we pretty much knew she was going to make an out there. She’s a good pitcher, hits her spots, has a good changeup. We had a hard time seeing that changeup too. I think we stayed aggressive, just couldn’t find the holes.”

Richert fielded four grounders in the game, all resulting in outs.

While Springfield did most of its damage in the third, the team had baserunners on in every frame, showcasing their offensive success.

“I think we were able to string it all together at the same time, those couple innings,” Springfield head coach Katie Wilhelmi said. “Then also we had a few baserunners in the other innings as well. It’s just a matter of getting our timing down and stringing them together.”

After Richert struck out two in the top of the first, the Springfield offense got right to it, sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning and scoring three with two outs. Jada Reese scored on a single by Hauger, who followed on a double by Groebner. Groebner then scored on a single by Novotny.

While Springfield didn’t score in the second inning, they more than made up for it with their third inning, sending 13 to the plate and scoring seven, all with two outs as well. Sturm picked up both her RBIs with a single in the inning, while Hauger, Groebner and Makay Winkelmann all picked up an RBI as well.

“Our team is a very good contact team, I feel like,” Richert said. “We’re always getting contact on the ball. Everybody was timing her up good, and we were scoring people who were on bases and not leaving them on. That was good.”

With the score set at 10-0, MVL managed to finally get runners on base in the fourth inning. MacKenna Dressel drew a walk to start the inning, then took second on a fielder’s choice and third on an error. Prahl’s groundout got Dressel home before the end of the inning.

Springfield didn’t hesitate to answer back, getting Reese home on a single by Groebner to seal the five-inning win in the bottom of the fourth. Sturm made a great throw after a pop out to shortstop to snag a runner at first to get the second and third outs and end the game.

Springfield (14-7) will now look to improve on their deep playoff run last season after losing in the semifinals of the elimination bracket.

“I think the top two teams in my mind tomorrow that we have to beat are Sleepy Eye tomorrow and [top-ranked New Ulm] Cathedral,” Richert said. “We just have to have good defense and offense to be able to beat good teams like them. Just getting our bat on the ball and then having solid defense is definitely going to be needed.”

MVL, meanwhile, finishes their season with a 5-13 record, a two-win improvement over last season.

“We’ve got lots of young kids coming up yet,” Scherer said. “We only have two seniors graduating, so we have a lot of returning players. Hopefully they can start where we left off here. We came a long way from the beginning of the season, even with our bats.”


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