Riverland softball has spring fever

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 20, 2003

Susie Rayman provided the Riverland Community College softball team's pitching staff with a change of pace as the Blue Devils ran their record to 4-1 Wednesday at Disney's Wide World of Sports spring training tournament in Orlando, Fla.

Rayman, a freshman graduate of Lyle/Pacelli, pitched six innings of four-hit ball before giving way to sophomore Marisa Kelsey in the seventh. Kelsey closed down the 6-0 shutout over Franklin & Marshall College of Pennsylvania.

The Blue Devil bats continued to keep up a torrid pace, pounding out 13 hits to provide Rayman with a confidence booster in the first inning. Riverland scored what would prove to be the game-winning run just two hitters into the game. Leadoff hitter Beth Harsma reached with a single, stole second and third, and scored on a single by No. 2 batter Melanie Gabrielson.

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Rayman and the Riverland defense supporting her prevented the Diplomats (4-2) from converting on countless bases-loaded situations, according to head softball coach Lisa Quednow-Bickler.

"They had the bases loaded three times with one out or less and we didn't let them score," she said. "Our defense is really playing well. It was just a good game by everybody."

Rayman struck out one and walked five, allowing four hits with one Riverland error.

Gabrielson led the 13-hit attack with three singles and the game-winning RBI. Abbey Bergstrom, a freshman from Blooming Prairie, and freshman catcher Sarah Moore each added a 2-for-4 day at the plate with two RBIs. Sophomore third baseman Erin Evans, a Lyle/Pacelli grad, went 2-4 with an RBI.

"It's nice, the top of our batting order is really producing right now," Quednow-Bickler said. "It's just so good for these freshmen to get these games under their belt."

The Blue Devils are 4-1 with a game today against Henry Ford College, a Division II school from Detroit, Mich.

Errors always costly

Riverland's first loss of the season came Tuesday against Mountain State University (W.Va.), 4-2. The Blue Devils outhit the Lady Cougars 9-6, but an uncharacteristic four errors proved costly in the loss.

Kelsey pitched the entire game for Riverland, which scored its only two runs in the sixth inning to take a 2-1 lead. Mountain State rallied for three runs in the seventh to seal the win.

Riverland stranded the bases loaded once and also did not walk in the game. Mountain St. is an NAIA Division I college.

Gabrielson led the offense with a 3-3 effort, and Bergstrom was 2-4 with an RBI.

The Blue Devils got back on track with a 7-4 beating of Northland Community College (Wis.) Tuesday afternoon. Riverland ripped 17 hits -- all singles -- to overtake the Lumberjills' early 4-3 lead.

The Blue Devils scored three runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-4 lead, and an error-free defensive effort kept them in front.

Bergstrom struck out three and walked six for the pitching victory. She also led the offense with a 4-4 performance. Hannah Tvedt went 3-4 with three RBIs and Moore was 3-4 with two RBIs.

"It's going well," Quednow-Bickler said of the spring trip. "The freshmen are getting a lot of experience and we're learning how to come back and produce a little offense."