DARLINGTON – That loud sound you heard coming from Sieg Field early Monday evening was the sound of victory and it was coming from the Darlington Redbirds softball team.
The Lady Redbirds held off a seventh-inning rally by Riverdale to lock up an 8-5 SWAL victory at home on Monday, May 14, and gladly put to rest a dubious 42-game overall losing streak and a 52-game conference slide.
“To get the first win was an amazing feeling not only because it was my first win as a coach, but because that win meant so much for the girls and the Redbird program. I am very proud of all of them,” said first-year Darlington head coach Destiny Glasson. “All season they have been working really hard and improving, and they finally proved that they could do it and broke the long streak.”
It was nearly two years to the day since the Redbirds had tasted victory on the softball diamond and just one day past four years since their last SWAL win. The ‘Birds last win came against Black Hawk, 15-3, on May 15, 2010; and their last conference win came against Fennimore on May 13, 2008.
The Redbirds (1-16 overall, 1-8 in SWAL) grabbed a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning by scoring three run on the Chieftains to erase a 2-1 deficit.
The guests cut the gap to 4-3 in the fifth, but Darlington answered back with two runs in the bottom of the frame and added two more key insurance runs in the sixth inning to build up an 8-3 advantage.
Riverdale refused to go away quietly, scoring twice in the top of the seventh to make the Redbirds and their fans sweat a little; but senior pitcher Laura Steiner worked her way out of the jam to secure the complete-game decision and set off a victory celebration at Sieg Field.
“The girls came out last night ready to play and they played strong all seven innings. The pitching was wonderful, everyone was hitting the ball and we held ourselves to only making three errors in the field,” Glasson noted.
Steiner surrendered four earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out seven batters en route to the win.
Her Redbird teammates provided plenty of offense by pounding out 18 hits in the game. Brianna King smashed three doubles and scored three times, and Catie Chiaverotti added a pair of two-baggers and drove in three RBI on their way to 3-for-4 days at the plate.
Jacke Johnson banged out three hits in four trips for the ‘Birds, while Anna Fitzsimons, Cassidy Cox and Anna Monson each had two hits. Monson also doubled with two RBI and a run scored for the hosts.
The Chieftains got the better of the Redbirds just a week earlier when they outlasted the visiting Redbirds, 15-13, in a high-scoring affair in Muscoda on Tuesday, May 8.
The Redbirds held a 9-4 lead after scoring six runs in the top of the third inning, but the Chieftains came back with nine runs in the bottom of the third to regain the lead and fought off every comeback attempt by the ‘Birds down the stretch.
Anna Fitzsimons went 3-for-5 with three doubles and Anna Monson was 3-for-5 with three singles to lead the Redbirds’ 12-hit attack.
At Boscobel, on Thursday, May 10, the Bulldogs used a five-run outburst in the fifth inning to pull away from the Redbirds for an 8-1 SWAL victory.
Cassidy Cox went 2-for-2 with a double for the ‘Birds.
Darlington heads Cuba City for a SWAL game on Thursday, May 17, and the Redbirds return home to host Mineral Point in their regular season finale on Monday, May 21.
Black Hawk has an upcoming SRE game at Monticello on Thursday afternoon, and the Warriors host Cassville/River Ridge in a non-conference game on Monday afternoon.
Riverdale….. 010 110 2 - 5 8 4
Darlington… 100 322 x - 8 18 3
Leading Hitters: Jacke Johnson 3x4, Brianna King 3x4, Catie Chiaverotti 3x4, Anna Fitzsimons 2x2, Cassidy Cox 2x4, Anna Monson 2x4. 2B- King (3), Chiaverotti (2), Monson.
WP- Laura Steiner. LP- Kienitz.
At Darlington, on Monday, May 14
Darlington… 306 030 1 - 13 12 5
Riverdale….. 409 011 x - 15 13 6
Leading Hitters: Anna Fitzsimons 3x5, Anna Monson 3x5, Cassidy Cox 2x5. 2B– Fitzsimons (3), C. Cox.
WP- Martin. LP- Laura Steiner.
At Darlington, on Tuesday, May 8
Darlington… 000 100 0 - 1 3 7
Boscobel….. 002 051 0 - 8 8 1
Leading Hitters: Cassidy Cox 2x2. 2B– C. Cox.
WP- Wunnicke. LP- Laura Steiner.
At Boscobel, on Thursday, May 10