It did not matter that Rockford’s girls fastpitch team lost its two games last week to end the regular season at 16-4, stopping a 12-game winning streak.
The Rockets had clinched the No. 2 Section 5AA seed and were not going to catch Maple Lake at the top seed. ML is ranked No. 2 in the state in the class.
Last week Rockford lost to Mankato East 12-2 and Delano 8-1.
“We wanted to get a look at some great pitching and we definitely got that this week,” said coach Dawn Engebretson. “We played Mankato East, (ranked No. 3 in Class 3A, and Delano, ranked eighth in Class 3A. It gave us some things to work on going into playoffs. Seeing great competition at this time of the season only makes us stronger.”
Rockford plays the winner of Holy Family and Spectrum at home, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 3. The winner plays at 4:30 p.m. June 4 at the higher seed. The winner’s bracket final is June 8 at Rockford and title game June 10 at Rockford. There is a loser’s bracket since the tourney is double elimination.
“Against Mankato East we had a bad third inning where they scored seven runs all with two outs,” said Engebretson. “They also ran more aggressively than teams we have seen so far- and that was good for us to experience and put into our game as well.”
Ellie Sather hit a homerun in the first inning. Julia Houghton had the other hit.
Rockford only mustered two hits against Delano, also a homer by Ellie Houghton and a single by Houghton.
Sophomore Calla Koshiol was named performer of the week for the week of May 17. In the 10-0 win over New London-Spicer Koshiol was 4 for 4 with three doubles and a home run.
Rockford earned the No. 15 seed with a 5-15 record. Last week the team lost 7-6 to Southwest Christian.
The first section game was played May 29 after press deadline. The second round is June 1 at the higher seed. If still alive the Rockets could face No. 1 seed Glencoe-Silver Lake. The semifinals and finals are at Dassel-Cokato June 7 and 10.
“Playing Southwest Christian was an opportunity for me to see if some players were ready for varsity next year and who would be starting for sections,” said Ryan Sparrman. “We had sophomore Luke Pilot make his first varsity start. I felt like he did a great job against one of the best teams in our section.”
Connor Schreckenghaust was 3 for 4 and Alex Altmann was 2 for 4 with a double. Max Hudlow pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
“Nolan Perry and Alex Altmann have been our two best pitchers throughout the entire season with both of them having a 3.2 earned runs average,” said Sparrman. “I am extremely excited to have both of them returning next year with varsity experience.”
Perry and Hudlow were the top hitters in the regular season, both batting over .300. Of Perry’s 23 hits, eight of them were doubles or triples. Altmann is 14 for 14 in stolen bases.
Senior leaders and role models are Dillon Lundberg, Ryan Lowe, Connor Schreckenghuast, Evan Rootness, Ben Biorn and Mike Nelson.