Softball: Cannon Falls blanks ByronCANNON FALLS – Senior Megan Ripley used her off-speed pitches to keep Byron from getting comfortable Monday and faced one batter more than the minimum for Cannon Falls in a 3-0 victory.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS – Senior Megan Ripley used her off-speed pitches to keep Byron from getting comfortable Monday and faced one batter more than the minimum for Cannon Falls in a 3-0 victory.
Ripley allowed just two hits and did not issue a walk while getting seven strikeouts for the Bombers (10-3, 6-3 HVL) as the Bears (7-4, 5-3 HVL) sent just 22 hitters to the plate. Ripley’s ERA dropped to 1.22.
“She’s got amazing control and she keeps the ball low,” Cannon Falls head coach Mike Gunderson said. “She was hitting (the strike zone) low and keeping them off balance.”
Ripley threw a lot of curveballs and showed a good changeup on occasion in her dominant performance. She said Byron’s record, 7-3 coming into the game with a win against 10th-ranked Pine Island, gave her more focus and determination to get the win.
“They’ve beaten some good teams,” Ripley said. “I wanted it way more than anything.”
It showed as she mowed down hitter after hitter with few hiccups. Haley Tostenson led off the second inning with a single but was thrown out trying to steal second base and from there Ripley set down the Bears in order until a leadoff single by Bre Hemann in the seventh inning.
“It boosts my confidence big time obviously,” Ripley said. “We had really good defense. It wasn’t just me; I had a whole team behind me.”
Cannon Falls got the scoring started in the first inning on an RBI single by Ripley. She went 1-for-3 in the game.
After scoring in the first, the Bombers struggled to stay balanced at the plate and it led to seven ground ball outs back to the pitcher in the first four innings.
“I didn’t think we adjusted very well to their pitcher,” Gunderson said. “She did take a couple hits away … we just couldn’t break the game open. We were one hit shy a couple times.”
The Bombers tallied another run in the fourth inning on three consecutive singles with an RBI to sophomore Carly Broze and in the fifth inning, they threatened to score again after loading the bases with one out but couldn’t get any runners home. Broze finished 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Cannon Falls’ final run scored on a single by sophomore Becca Vandenheuvel in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Vanessa Anderson pitched all six innings for Byron in the loss, giving up two earned runs on seven hits to go along with four strikeouts.
Monday’s win continued the Bombers’ reliance on pitching and defense as they did not commit an error while the pitching staff lowered its combined ERA to 2.36.
“Our pitching has been really good all year,” Gunderson said. “(This win) should give us confidence."
Cannon Falls will attempt to keep its three-game winning streak going Thursday against La Crescent in Cannon Falls.