After struggling in a 6-2 season-opening loss to Altoona two days earlier, the New Richmond softball team bounced back nicely in its Middle Border Conference opener against St. Croix Central by taking care of the Panthers 14-0 in five innings Thursday, April 29, in Hammond.

Brooklyn Swanepoel earned the win in the circle, allowing three hits while striking out five, and helping herself at the plate with three hits. Grace Brewer was 4-for-4 and McKena Huset went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run while Mimi Brinkman and Emma Tappe went 3-for-4 each while Leah DeYoung had six putouts at second base.

St. Croix Central’s three hits came from shortstop Trinity Gafford, catcher Kiera Schult and pitcher Grace Melstrom. Panther coach Mike Nilssen said Melstrom, a sophomore, looked good in her first varsity start in the circle while Gafford played very well in the field.

“It was a rough start for us,” Nilssen said about the Panthers’ season opener. “We had some nerves and a lot of rust to shake off. “We have a lot of ability with this team and I’m excited to see what they can do when we get the ball rolling.”

New Richmond returns to action under the lights at First National Bank of River Falls Field in River Falls Friday night, April 30, at 7 p.m. while St. Croix Central will host Baldwin-Woodville Tuesday, May 4, at 5 p.m.

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