Renville County opens Region 3 Tournament with big win over Rugby

Sean Williams/MDN Ginger Savelkoul (6) of the Renville County Mavericks hitting a two-run single in the top of the first against the Rugby Panthers on Monday afternoon during the Region 3 Tournament.

After putting together an unblemished record during the regular season, the Renville County Mavericks softball team began postseason play on Monday, as they entered the Region 3 Tournament as the No. 1-seeded team.

Hoping to be back playing at South Hill Complex next week during the state tournament, the Mavericks first needed to handle business during regional tournament play. In their first opportunity, they did so in a big way, taking down the Rugby Panthers by a final of 15-5.

Wasting no time in making their presence felt, the Mavericks put up a combined 12 runs in the first two innings to get off to a fast and powerful start.

A two-run single from Ginger Savelkoul in the top of the first opened the scoring, then an inside the park home run from Nevaeh Juntunen, RBI singles from Emma Southam, Addison Mach, and Savelkoul, and a Marleigh Henry RBI triple highlighted the massive start for the Mavericks, as they claimed a 12-0 lead after two.

One inning later, the Mavericks continued adding to their lead when Brooke Zimmer scored on a passed ball, and Taya Aufforth had a two-run triple to make it a 15-0 Mavericks’ advantage heading into the fourth.

Despite being down big, the Panthers did not quit as they rallied for five runs in the fifth. An error, an RBI single from Joran Jundt, Haylee Heilman scoring on a passed ball, and Brooklyn Hager being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded gave Rugby their five runs in the contest.

For the Mavericks, they got another excellent performance from Savelkoul on the mound. After giving up a single to the second hitter of the game, Savelkoul only allowed one more hit the rest of the way, and only allowed the Panthers to put a total of four balls in play.

Through four innings of work, Savelkoul earned the win and allowed no runs on two hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Ellie Braaten tossed the final inning, allowing no earned runs on one hit with one walk and one strikeout.

At the plate, Savelkoul went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI to lead Renville County, followed by Juntunen who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI, Aufforth who went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI, Southam who went 1-for-2 with an RBI, and Karsyn Lautenschlager who went 2-for-3 with two doubles.

The Panthers were led by Mariann Kraft and Jundt, who had a hit and an RBI each, as well as Hager who added an RBI.

Following the win, the Mavericks will move on and face the Ray Jays this afternoon at 4 p.m. Rugby had to follow up with a matchup against the Glenburn Panthers at 6 p.m. yesterday.


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