The Tri-City United softball team racked up double-digit runs, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Norwood Young America. The two teams battled in a doubleheader on April 22, and the Raiders came out on top 18-11, 24-13.

Game 1: NYA 18, TCU 11

The Titans had a good first game. After a scoreless first inning, TCU took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second. Savannah Squires hit a double and scored off a double by Anastasia Rynda. Nikaija Young earned the Titans' second run. After reaching first on a dropped third strike, Young was batted into home by a single from Brooke Blaschko. Rynda reached home as Molly Closser walked to first and Isabelle Factor earned the fourth run off a single by Ellaina Novak.

NYA earned their first run in the third inning and shut the Titans up. But at the end of the fourth, the Raiders and the Titans were neck-and-neck. While the Titans had a solid performance on the field in the early game, the fourth inning was plagued by errors. Six errors in the fourth alone allowed the Raiders to overtake TCU and collect seven runs, setting the score at 4-8.

TCU took back the lead adding five more runs to their score. Anastasia Rynda collected her second run, batted in by Closser. Blaschko reached home on a walk by Rachel Rynda. Closser scored on a single from Squires. Finally, Payton Singleton batted in Novak and Rachel Rynda with a pop fly to center field, giving the Titans a narrow 9-8 lead.

The game soon escalated into a tug of war for the advantage. NYA immediately tied the game at the top of the fifth with a triple advancing a batter to home. But The Titans led 10-9 at the bottom thanks to a home run by Blaschko. NYA took back the lead at the top of the sixth 10-11, but the Titans tied up the game by the end of the inning. Rachel Rynda advanced to first on a walk, stole second and ran to third on a passed ball before running home off a fly out.

An 11-11 tie soon became a runaway 18-11 runaway victory for the Raiders in the final inning. NYA led with a home run and collected several more runs on errors by the Titans. A double knocked two more runners home and the team ended the inning with seven runs. The Titans were shut out in the bottom of the second, securing the win for NYA.

Blaschko, Rachel Rynda and Anastasia Rynda each collected two runs for the Titans. Blaschko, along with Molly Closser, Savannah Squires and Payton Singleton led in RBIs with two each. Closser, Savannah Squires, Elliana Novak, Nikaija Young and Isabelle Factor each contributed one run.

Novak pitched all seven innings with six strikeouts.

The Titans collected 12 hits.

“Up until this point, we had been struggling at the plate, so it was really good to see the girls hit the ball around like we know they can,” said Coach Kelly Jo Closser. “They have been working really hard in practice on their plate appearances and it really paid off tonight. We still had more errors in the field that ultimately led to extra scores by Norwood.”

Game 2: NYA 24, TCU 13

While the first game was close, NYA took the lead quickly in the second. The Titans began with three runs in the first. Novak batted in both Blaschko and Closser and earned the third run by advancing to second on a passed ball and running to third and home on an error.

But the Titans lead evaporated after multiple mistakes gave the Raiders nine runs in the first. The Raiders were hit by pitch and the Titans committed two more errors in the inning.

TCU began to catch up in the second. Young scored off a single by Novak and Rachel Rynda batted in Closser with a double. Rachel Rynda stole home while Squires was at bat to narrow the Titans’ disadvantage 9-7. But NYA collected three more runs at the bottom of the second and had three batters hit by pitch.

Blaschko gave a large boost to TCU with her second home run of the night batting in Factor and Young for three more runs. After shutting out NYA in the third, TCU was down 12-10. NYA added one more run to their score in the fourth, but the Titans inched closer in the fifth. Young scored off a single by Closser, followed by Blaschko reaching home on an error and Closser advancing to home on a single by Novak. The Titans were down just 13-14.

But like in the first game, the Raiders went on a last-inning blitz. NYA had two outs when they scored their first run, but two errors gave the Raiders two more. With a double and a home run at the end of the inning, NYA successfully racked up 10 runs in the fifth, winning 24-13.

The Titans top scorer was Blashcko with four runs including a homer and three RBIs. Closser had three runs and one RBI and Rachel Rynda, Novak and Isabelle Factor each contributed one run. Novak led in total RBIs with five.

The Titans swapped through multiple pitchers to hold off NYA. Closser started in the first inning, throwing nine strikes, zero strikeouts and 21 pitches. Singleton took over in the first and pitched into the fifth with 77 pitches, 50 strikes and no strikeouts. Alexis Hoefs threw for the remainder of the fifth inning with four pitches, three strikes and no strikeouts before the game was called in the NYA’s favor.

“In game two of the double header, Titans made several pitching changes to find the right mix,” said Closser. “Offensively, the girls kept the bats going with Brooke Blaschko hitting a three-run home run in the top of the third inning. Defensively, errors still held us back. Norwood also had three homeruns in the double header, so you have to give them credit there as well.”

Reach Reporter Carson Hughes at 507-931-8575. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.

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