Softball: Rockridge tops St. Bede in potential sectional preview

Rockets pitcher Taylor Dieterich shuts out Bruins on 5 hits

St. Bede Bruins logo

PERU – Bella Pinter gathered her catcher’s gear, walked out of St. Bede’s dugout and said, “9-0, I didn’t expect this.”

Not many did for the Bruins as Rockridge got the upper hand in the meeting of two defending state champions Saturday at St. Bede’s Abbot Philip Davey Field.

The Rockets, the three-time defending Class 2A state champions, broke the game open with five runs in the top of the seventh inning.

Rockridge went on defeat St. Bede, the reigning 1A champions, by a score of 9-0, collecting 12 hits and capitalizing on two Bruins’ errors.

St. Bede coach Shawn Sons called it a learning experience for his Bruins (12-2).

“Every game you should take away something that you can learn from, try and build and get better every time out,” Sons said. “We talk as a team that we’re not going to talk about [wins or losses] or stats. ... I want the girls to remember it long enough to sting to motivate them, but forget about it quick enough that it doesn’t effect them going down the road.”

Bella Pinter

Pinter said the Bruins have some things to clean up on defense.

“You learn from every game, but this one we knew was going to be a difficult task,” Pinter said. “I’m very proud of our offense, for at least making things happen.”

Rockridge (12-2) jumped on the Bruins early, scoring two runs in the first off starter Reagan Stoudt on a two-run single by clean-up hitter Morgan Hofer.

The Rockets tacked on two more runs in the second on an RBI single by Charley Perkins and an RBI double by Taylor Dieterich.

That was more enough run support for Dieterich, who was dominant in the circle, allowing only five hits by five different Bruins, while striking out 10. She never allowed a St. Bede runner to advance to second base until the seventh inning on an error.

The Bruins have been bumped up to Class 2A, assigned to the Peoria Notre Dame Sectional with the Rockets. With a much more possible high-stakes meeting at the sectional, both teams held an ace back in their hip pocket.

Rockridge coach Scott Durbin plugged in ace pitcher Kendra Lewis (7-2, 1.03 ERA), a University of Wisconsin recruit at shortstop, while Ella Hermes (5-0, 1.09), the winning pitcher in relief at last year’s Class 1A state championship, was at shortstop for the Bruins.

“I’m sure he’s doing the same thing I’m doing,” Rockridge coach Scott Durbin said. “You don’t want to throw your No. 1 early at somebody you potentially could see in sectional. That’s what’s our game plan was and I guarantee it was theirs.”

Sons likens his two pitchers as a 1-2 punch.

“We know what Lewis brings to the table, and I’m sure they know what our pitchers bring,” Sons said.

The Rockets scored five runs on five hits in the seventh.

Dieterich and Lewis had back-to-back RBI singles to make it 6-0. Madelyn David had a two-run hit up the middle that deflected off the glove of pitcher Stoudt and slipped past shortstop Ella Hermes for an 8-0 lead. Emma Kramer capped the Rockets’ rally with an RBI double by Kramer.

Emma Slingsby, Ella Hermes, Stoudt, Maci Kelly and Lily McClain each hit safely for the Bruins.

“We hit the ball at times, but it was at people. It just wasn’t our day,” Sons said. “I know we’re going to face them again down the road, hopefully. I don’t want the girls to base this season on one game. We’re in midseason and we’ve got a lot of games coming up.

“I want to win our last one at state. This is not going to win state title right there. It’s good competition and is going to prepare us for that.”

The first four batters in the Rockets’ lineup – Perkins, Dieterich, Lewis and Hofer – each had two hits. No. 6 hitter Stella Riley also had two hits.

Durbin enjoyed the potential sectional matchup with the Bruins, although he was concerned a bit with the long bus ride and playing after a F/S prelim.

“It’s always a good game with St. Bede,” Durbin said. “I thought the varsity playing second was going to kind of mess with our heads a little bit, but we came out strong. I had nothing bad to say about this today. They have a good program. I hope we do see them again.”

Durbin is in his first year as head coach at Rockridge after two years as an assistant, succeeding John Nelson, who led the Rockets to four state championships in five years and now coaches at Augustana College.

“It’s been a lot of fun. We didn’t change a whole lot,” Durbin said. “We still have the same tradition. We still have the same attitude. The expectations are still the same. We’re gearing up for the last seven [postseason games], and that’s what we’re playing for.”

St. Bede will play in the Rockridge Tournament on May 10 but will not face the Rockets.

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