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Softball: Spartans stun Raiders in regional

Hudson's Hannah Stich gets a high-five from coach Jim Revoir after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning of the Raider's 10-0 victory over River Falls in a WIAA Division 1 regional softball game Wednesday, May 23, at Grandview Park. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Hudson's Megan Iverson dives back to third base in the fourth inning of the Raider's 10-0 win over River Falls in a WIAA Division 1 regional softball game Wednesday, May 23, at Grandview Park. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Hudson and Superior matched zeroes through four innings in their WIAA Division 1 regional final Friday, May 25, at Grandview Park before a thunderstorm delayed the game about an hour.

When play resumed in the top of the fifth inning, it was the fifth-seeded Spartans who provided the thunder as they used a grand slam to break the game open and go on to an 8-0 victory over the fourth-seeded Raiders.

Superior improved to 20-6 and advanced to face top-seeded Stevens Point in a sectional semifinal Tuesday, May 29, while the Raider's season ended with a record of 15-5.

Hudson pitcher Grace O'Brien was near perfect through the first four innings, retiring 12 of the 13 Spartans she faced with five strikeouts. But Superior's Mady Stariha was equally impressive, giving up a pair of harmless walks to leadoff batter Colleen Halverson and a fourth inning single to Megan Iverson, who stole second before the rains came.

After the delay, O'Brien got the first two outs in the top of the fifth inning before giving up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. Superior's Autumn Siers followed with a homer to left, and just like that the Spartans had a 4-0 lead.

The Spartans added three more runs in the sixth inning and another in the seventh to make the final 8-0.

The closest the Raiders could come to generating any offense against Stariha was when Courtney Moeri and Hannah Stich each singled in the bottom of the fifth to put runners at first and second with one out but Stariha struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

O'Brien went 5 ⅔ innings and allowed seven earned runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks before Katie Cardell gave up one run on three hits over the final 1 1/3.

Singles by Iverson, Moeri and Stich were the only Raider hits in the game.

Hudson advanced to the regional final with a 10-0, five-inning victory over No. 13 seed River Falls in a semifinal game Wednesday, May 23, at Grandview Park.

Iverson singled in Halverson with the first run of the game before Iverson and Paige Meyer scored on a single by Angela Huepfel to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead after one.

Stich hit a two-run homer during a five-run third inning for Hudson and had a sacrifice fly in the fifth before Halverson singled in Johnson to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule.

Huepfel had three hits and three RBI and Iverson and Kaiya Sundeen each singled, doubled and scored while Moeri contributed a triple.

O'Brien struck out 11 and allowed just one hit to earn the win in the circle.

Bob Burrows

Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.

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