Rebels win nail-biter in regional title game
Ridgewood's Katie Richardson delivers the pitch, during the Rebels regional semifinal game against Clemente. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:52AM
Ridgewood pitcher Katie Richardson has hit her stride at just the right time, resulting in opponents being unable to hit her pitches.
The freshman has been the Rebels’ only hurler the entire season, so having her on the mound and pitching well is essential to the team’s success. Ridgewood, the No. 5 seed in the Fenton Sectional, rode Richardson’s arm and some excellent defense behind her to win its own Class 3A Regional title with a 1-0 nail-biter over No. 13 Noble Street Charter/UIC, an upset winner over No. 4 North Grand in the semifinals.
With a matchup against top-seeded Fenton scheduled for Wednesday, first-year Ridgewood head coach Michelle Farrell-Fink said Richardson, again, would be key for the Rebels (8-15) to advance in the state tournament.
“She (Richardson) has really been on the past few games,” Farrell-Fink said. “She has gained so much experience and confidence over the course of the season, and she seems to be having it all come together when we needed it most. She only allowed one run to Clemente (during an 11-1 semifinal victory) and then she pitched a shutout for the championship in a 1-0 game. She was really hitting her spots, and they (Noble) just couldn’t do anything against her after scoring a ton of runs (14) in their previous game.”
Richardson fanned 11 and allowed just one hit and three walks. Farrell-Fink said a constantly improving defense has helped boost her pitcher’s confidence.
“She (Richardson) has been knocked around quite a bit over the course of the year, but now that the defense has improved she is starting to show what she is made of,” she said. “The defense has been nearly flawless the last two games and tough defense is what wins games. We’ve made a major improvement on our infield defense, and the results show it.”
Ridgewood scored the only run of the game in the third inning after Megan Kaufman led off with a double, moved to third, and came home on a ground ball out off the bat of Crissie Laskero.
“We lost to Fenton twice during the regular season, but we’re a different team now than when we last played them, so we’ll see what happens,” Farrell-Fink said.