The Lady Raiders are one win away from the program's first Region XVI championship, and will have two chances to get it. Top seed Three Rivers beat No. 4 MCC-Maple Woods 4-3 in nine innings Friday in the second round of the Region XVI Tournament and then beat No. 3 Crowder 9-0 in five innings in the finals of the winner's bracket Saturday. Three Rivers will face Crowder one more time in the championship at noon Sunday. In the double elimination tournament, Three Rivers and Crowder will play again at 2 p.m. should Three Rivers lose the noon game. The Lady Raiders have now won 4 of 5 against Crowder this season. Summer Shockley, who will pitch in the noon game and has pitched 14 innings in one day already once this season, is 3-0 against Crowder and has collectively allowed six runs, 15 hits and 12 walks with 15 strikeouts. Against Maple Woods on Friday, Gracie King hit a walk-off solo home run in the ninth inning and then turned around and had a three-run homer that kick started a five-run third inning against Crowder. "The wind was blowing straight in. It was a tough day to hit one out and she just crushed it," Three Rivers coach Jeff Null said of Friday's home run. "They all went crazy. Of course they were waiting at home plate for her. It was very exciting." King finished 4 for 7 in the two games with three runs and four RBIs. She scored twice against Maple Woods and was part of a three-run third inning. Kabrien Rogers had a leadoff single, took second on a sacrifi ce, third on a wild pitch, and Kristyn Carpenter drove her in with a line drive single to center. Carpenter took second on another wild pitch and King had an RBI single to left. Ali Law drove King in from third with an infield single to put Three Rivers ahead 3-1. Maple Woods tied the game in the fifth inning. With the bases loaded, Three Rivers committed an error in right fi eld and two runs scored. Three Rivers pitcher Summer Shockley got a strikeout to escape the inning and allowed one hit the rest of the game. She stranded two runners in the seventh inning and one on third base in the eighth. Over nine innings, the Region XVI Player of the Year allowed seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. She turned around and allowed two hits and four walks with three strikeouts in her shutout against Crowder. Shockley allowed at least one runner on base in each inning and faced the minimum once, in the fourth after she turned a 1-3 double play. Crowder stranded seven total, including five in scoring position. The Roughriders needed two runs in the top of the fifth to avoid the run rule and had runners on second and third with nobody out, but Shockley got a strikeout, a flyout to center that Randi Scruggs caught as she fell into the fence, and another strikeout to fi nish the game. "The bats showed up today. When the bats show up with Summer on in the circle, we are pretty good," Null said. The Lady Raiders, meanwhile, went through three Crowder pitchers en route to the championship game. Crowder's No. 2 pitcher Emma Hill got the start and lasted 2 1/2 innings. She gave up four runs, six hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Maddie Massanelli, Crowder's top pitcher, allowed three more runs off two hits and three walks and left after Allison Pingel's three-run home run in the fourth. Maddi Brown finished the fourth and had two strikeouts with no hits and no walks. Scruggs walked and scored in the first inning on Pingel's single. Still ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Lindsey Elfrink hit a leadoff single and took second and a sacrifi ce by Scruggs. Carpenter singled, putting runners on the corners, and King belted a home run to straight center field. Not done, Pingel and Law singled, knocking Hill out of the game, and Sophie Wunderlich walked to load the bases. Everybody moved up a base after a Crowder error, with Sydney Tollison, who was pinch running for Pingel, scoring. With two outs, Peyton Gunn drew a bases-loaded walk to score Law and put the Raiders ahead 6-0. "It gave Summer some breathing room, so she could relax and attack the batter's a little bit more," Null said. In the fourth, Carpenter drew a leadoff walk and King singled to start the inning. Pingel then hit her 19th home run of the season to bring about the run-rule.
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic