Softball: Richmond-Burton falls to North Boone in Class 2A sectional championship

Rockets end season with program-record 25 wins, 4 straight regional titles

Richmond-Burton’s Rockets regroup after giving up a home run to North Boone during Class 2A softball sectional final action at Marengo Saturday.

MARENGO – After drawing a four-pitch walk in her first trip to the plate Saturday, North Boone senior and clean-up hitter Danielle Goodman was ready to swing away in her next at-bat in the fourth inning.

Not wasting any time, she blasted the first pitch she saw from Richmond-Burton junior Hailey Holtz over the left field fence to start the scoring at the Class 2A Marengo Sectional final.

Goodman’s home run proved to be the game winner for the fourth-seeded Vikings, who knocked off the third-seeded Rockets 2-0. The Vikings (28-4) advanced to the Benedictine University Supersectional, where they defeated IC Catholic 5-3 on Monday to make the state semifinals.

“I was on deck and I was like, ‘You know what? We’ve got to get something started, anything works. If [it looks] good, let’s swing, and I did,’ ” Goodman said of her solo homer.

The Vikings tacked on their second run in the fifth when Lauren Stefek hit another solo shot to right-center field, providing starter Cami Carter with more than enough support.

Carter surrendered only three hits, all singles, and a walk while striking out five in a complete game. No Rockets’ base runner advanced past second base in the game.

Goodman, who also caught, lauded her starting pitcher’s performance. Carter consistently induced weak contact, and the Vikings defense played well behind her.

“She just always comes in firing,” Goodman said. “Honestly, everything works, and she’s doing it well. I’m proud of her.”

Still, in a game where the bats never got going, Richmond-Burton battled to the end.

North Boone Sydney Goodman ended a potential scoring threat in the third when she made an over-the-shoulder catch on a pop-up to rob the Rockets’ Adriana Portera of a single. Goodman alertly turned around and fired to first base where Marlee Alderman scooped the low throw to double off an aggressive base runner.

Both Vikings defenders also were part of a 5-6-3 put-out for the first out of the seventh inning. When the third baseman couldn’t corral a well-struck ground ball, Goodman fielded the deflection and threw quickly to Alderman, just beating the runner and squashing any potential offensive momentum at a critical point in the game.

Richmond-Burton’s Adriana Portera, left, is tagged out on a rundown by North Boone’s Sydney Goodman during Class 2A softball sectional final action at Marengo Saturday.

The Rockets (25-11) were hoping to win a sectional title for the second time in three seasons. R-B defeated Aurora Central Catholic 1-0 on May 17 for its fourth regional title in a row and finished with a program-record 25 wins.

Holtz’s presence in the circle was a major highlight throughout the season and Saturday. She tossed a complete game, striking out 15 of the 24 batters she faced. 13 of the Iowa-State commit’s strikeouts were swinging. Unfortunately for the Rockets, the only two hits she allowed went for home runs.

Speaking to the influence of his the two seniors on the roster – Sydney Hird and Portera – R-B coach Tylar Stanton reflected, “I took the program over three years ago when they were sophomores. They were raw, but they worked their butts off. They’ve taken us to this point. They’ve led us to this point.”

Coach Stanton and Hird both referenced strong all-around play and timely hitting as key factors to the Rockets many wins this season.

“I loved playing with the team,” Hird said. “The girls were just always so supportive. It was just like a big family. I will definitely remember all of the hacky sack moments. Definitely the big games, the big wins, just having fun with all of them.”

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