RED WING — Two runs in the middle innings provided all the offensive support Red Wing starting pitcher Amira Ramstad needed to close out the regular season on a high note, as the Wingers defeated Rochester Century on Friday, 2-1.
The victory improved Red Wing’s Big Nine Conference record to 6-9 on the season, putting it in seventh place on the year. The win also meant Red Wing would enter the Section 1AAA playoffs with some momentum on its side after winning their last two games.
The regular season finale was a pressure cooker for the Wingers, however. Century struck first with one run in the top of the first inning and kept that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the fourth. Between that span, Red Wing had a small window of opportunity in the second inning when Sarah Wiederich was left stranded at second base, but otherwise neither team mounted much of a scoring threat.
The tide started to finally turn in the Wingers’ favor in the fourth inning. Kennedy Knopp led the inning off with a double and in the next at bat, Wiederich reached base on an error that also allowed Knopp to come around and score. With the score tied 1-1 and runners at second and third with two outs, Century pitched Red Wing into an infield pop fly to end the threat.
In the next half-inning, things got even more tense for the Wingers as their tie was endangered when Ramstad hit a batter with no outs to load the bases. Three consecutive ground balls with the infield playing aggressively to throw the runner out at home meant no runs scored and Ramstad worked herself out of a difficult jam.
Her efforts in the circle were rewarded in the bottom of the fifth when Abby Boxrud hit a one-out single and stole second base to get into scoring position with two outs. Knopp came up clutch with a double, scoring Boxrud to give the Wingers a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers put their rally caps on in the seventh and pushed Red Wing’s one-run lead to the limits as runners were at second and third with one out. Ramstad once again pitched masterfully in the pressure-packed moment and an aggressive and stout defense behind her got the next two outs without a run being scored to end the game.
Pitching stats: Ramstad (7 IP, 10 K, 5 BB, 5 H, 1 ER)
Batting stats: Boxrud (2 H, 1 R, 2 SB), Knopp (2 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI), Wiederich (1 H), Liz Haglund (1 H)
Red Wing, 9-11, will next play in the Section 1AAA playoffs. Their seed and opponent is yet to be determined.