Mavericks wrap up state with fifth-place finish

Sean Williams/MDN Marleigh Henry (1) of the Renville County Mavericks swinging the bat during the 2023 NDHSAA Class B Softball State Tournament at South Hill Softball Complex.

After dropping their first game of the 2023 NDHSAA Class B Softball State Tournament to the Thompson Tommies, the Renville County Mavericks made it their mission to end the year on a positive note.

First, they took care of business in a 10-0 win over the Central McLean Cougars in the consolation semifinals, then on Saturday, Renville County took down No. 4 Hillsboro/Central Valley, 6-2, to earn a fifth-place finish at state.

Making their presence felt immediately were the Mavericks, as Ellie Braaten singled and Ginger Savelkoul walked to get the offense going in the bottom of the first. Marleigh Henry drove in Braaten to give the Mavericks a 1-0 lead over the Burros.

Ballooning their lead in the bottom of the third, Braaten and Savelkoul ignited the rally again with a single and a double, respectively. In what was an excellent performance at the plate, Henry drove everyone in, including herself, on a three-run inside the park home run to make it a 4-0 game.

One inning later, the Mavericks reached their run total in the contest after Savelkoul blasted a two-run home run, driving in Braaten who singled earlier in the frame. After the home run, the Mavericks held a 6-0 lead and were nine outs away from a win.

Not ready to call it quits yet were the Burros, who got two runs off a Peyton Quam RBI triple with Quam coming around to score on a wild pitch. The two runs by the Burros in the sixth inning brought the game to its final score, where the Mavericks came out on top in a 6-2 final.

Savelkoul got the chance to wrap up a very successful season on the mound, and she did just that. Savelkoul tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on two hits with one walk and 15 strikeouts.

At the plate, the Mavericks were led by Henry who went 2-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, followed by Savelkoul who went 2-for-3 with a double, home run, walk and two RBI, Braaten who went 3-for-4, and Kate Zimmer, Taya Aufforth, and Nevaeh Juntunen who had one hit each.


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