Alderson’s 16 Ks lead RTR to 1-0 win over Vikings

TYLER — If you like tremendous pitching, then the place to be on Wednesday was the softball complex in Tyler, where the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton Knights hosted the Minneota/Canby Vikings.  It truly was a pitcher’s duel, with RTR senior Kya Alderson facing Minneota/Canby sophomore Madison Hennen, who was pitching on her birthday.  Both pitchers dominated throughout the game, with Alderson striking out the first 10 batters she faced and Hennen striking out eight in the first four innings.  But a costly error led to the only run of the game, with RTR escaping with a 1-0 victory.  

“I thought we played a great game because you don’t see RTR have a 1-0 game very often,” Hennen said. “We hung in there and the one error we had was the difference in the game. Without that, we would still be playing.  They are a good team, and we played them tough.”  

In the bottom of the fifth, RTR scored the only run of the game when Paisley Thooft reached on a throwing error. Alderson doubled in the next at-bat to drive her home for the lead.

That turned out to be the winning run, although Minneota/Canby did have a scoring chance in the top of the seventh. Joelle Otto started the inning with a fly ball to left that fell out of the glove of the left fielder for a two-base error.  

Yet, Otto was called out on the next pitch when it was ruled that she left second base early. Alderson then struck out the next two batters to end the game.

“It was definitely a pitcher’s duel, with two really good pitchers,” RTR head coach Darren Baartman said. “It came down to an error and a timely hit, and that was the story of the game.  We made a couple good plays in the field and that is what it takes when you have two good pitchers going. It was a good, fun softball game.  It was a nice win for us since we knew that they had a good pitcher, but we found a way to beat a very good team.”

The top of the fifth inning saw Alderson throw her 10th consecutive strikeout but the perfect game was ruined by two walks to Faith Myhre and Izabelle Hulzebos. Still, an outstanding diving catch on a foul pop by Laken Baartman, followed by a great running catch of a bunt attempt by Daryssa Cruz, ended the Vikings’ threat. 

For the game, Alderson struck out 16 batters and did not allow a hit.  For the Vikings, Hennen struck out 10 batters and only allowed five hits and one unearned run.  Strong defense on balls in play led each team to commit just one error each.

“We just have to keep our heads up,” Minneota/Canby first baseman Kenadi Arndt said. “We have a good hitting team and I think that any other day, we get our bats on the ball.  She is a great pitcher, and Madison pitched a great game for us.”

“It came down to one error that allowed them to score the only run.  The one thing we talked about is that we have to get the bat on the ball, and we didn’t do that, not even on our bunt attempts,” Minneota/Canby head coach Heidi Louwagie said. “Alderson is the best pitcher we have faced, but I am so proud of the way Madison pitched today.  Her changeup was very effective, and she worked hard after missing last season with a knee injury.  We look forward to the next two years with her on the mound.”

RTR is now 10-1 and will face Red Rock Central/Walnut Grove at home today at 4:30 p.m.  Minneota falls to 9-2 and will next play in a tournament in Windom this weekend.


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