Rockford’s fastpitch softball team stayed on course to winning the Section 5AA title by winning the first two playoff games, advancing to the winner’s bracket final against top seed Maple Lake.
The game was played Tuesday, after this issue went to press. The winner advanced to the title game, 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at Rockford. The if needed game would follow in the double elimination format. The loser would play again on Tuesday, with the winner going to the title game.
Rockford defeated Holy Family 5-0 on June 3 when junior Makayla Graunke pitched all seven innings, allowing two hits, walked two and struck out 13.
Ellie Sather started the offense by getting a two-out double. Graunke followed by singling to right to score Sather. Shellie Virnig singled on a bunt and Graunke scored on the throw.
The Rockets scored one in the third on a single by Graunke. In the fourth, Reagan Pedersen hit a homerun to center field.
In the fifth inning, Graunke led off with a single. She scored on a single by pinch hitter Ellen Gordee, a junior varsity player called to varsity for the playoffs.
Graunke was 3 for 4, Emma Sather was 2 for 4 and Kennedy Torborg went 2 for 3. Calla Koshiol, Ellie Sather, Virnig, Gordee and Pedersen each had one hit.
On June 4, Rockford defeated Norwood-Young America 6-3. Graunke again pitched all seven innings, allowing six hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts.
In the third inning, key hits were singles by Graunke and Julia Houghton as Rockford scored twice. Graunke singled in the fourth, leading to another run.
Two more Rocket runs scored in the sixth, helped by singles by Emma Sather and Koshiol, plus a double by Graunke.
Graunke was 3 for 4 with two runs batted in. Emma Sather, Koshiol, Ellie Sather, Houghton and Lilly Jackson each had one hit.