RSM softball upsets No. 5 A-W on Willman’s walk-off

Thursday, July 16, 2020
Ashley Willman swings on the game-winning hit for Remsen St. Mary’s. The lone senior for the Lady Hawks came through in the bottom of the seventh with the walk-off RBI hit on senior night.
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)

REMSEN — A night after losing their first game of the season to a winless team, the Remsen St. Mary’s softball team bounced back in a big way Thursday, July 2, knocking off previously unbeaten Class 1A No. 5 Akron-Westfield 5-4 in War Eagle Conference action.

“To bounce back after last night’s loss, I’m proud of the girls,” RSM Head Coach Monte Harpenau said. “They kept pressure on these guys all night and usually that’s what they do to us. This should do a lot for our kids. Akron can’t hang their heads because they’re still a great team. I don’t even know when the last time we beat Akron was.”

It was a fitting conclusion to senior night as RSM’s lone senior, Ashley Willman, knocked in the winning run with a hit to the outfield to score Brittany Johnson who walked with one out and then advanced to second on a wild pitch.

Mya Bunkers connects on her triple which she hit in the first inning and put the Hawks on top 1-0 by scoring on a wild pitch.
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil)

“I was just really happy that our team pulled it together and came through,” Willman said. “We knew we could do it. We just had to come and work harder.”

Willman finished with 2 RBI as she also drove in the tying run with an RBI ground out in the fifth. Willman said the team had confidence building in that rally against A-W starter Natalie Nielsen.

“We just all worked together and it wasn’t just one person, it was the whole team coming together,” Willman said.

Akron-Westfield held a 4-1 lead entering the bottom of the fifth when Sydney Schroeder reached base on an error and Carly Ortmann added a single. Mya Bunkers sent a double right between the third baseman and the line and into the outfield to make it 4-2. Brittany Johnson followed with a hit of her own and extended it out to a stop at second base to make it 4-3 before the tying ground out.

“The late innings, I really think it’s just a different mentality on this team right now that they never feel like they’re out of a game,” Harpenau said.

RSM held an early 1-0 lead after an inning as Bunkers tripled and then scored on a wild pitch.

The Westerners answered back in the top of the second as Nielsen doubled home a run and her courtesy runner, Ciara Baron, came home on a pickoff throw from the catcher which ended up out of play after hitting the batter.

A-W tacked on another run in the third as Megan Meinen tripled and scored on a ground out from Jaden Harris. The team’s final run came in the fourth on a double from Chloee Colt to bring home Tori Nemesio who led off the inning with a walk.

The loss was the first of the season for the Westerners (12-1) and the first loss to RSM in well over a decade. It was the end of a grueling week of games for the team which saw them beat ranked Spirit Lake and West Lyon, the latter a 13-inning affair, along with an easier 11-0 win over Trinity Christian on Wednesday, July 1.

Remsen St. Mary’s improves to 8-1 as they are now tied with the Westerners in the league standings at 7-1.

It may not be the last time the two teams meet as they are in the same postseason region with a potential meeting set up for a regional semifinal.