Much like during the Three Rivers Conference softball race, Morrison vs. Riverdale has become just as compelling a postseason rivalry.|
Two years after denying the Rams a regional title and almost a full 12 months since beating them in the sectional finals en route to the Class 2A state championship, the Fillies jump into the deep end as they begin the defense of their crown this afternoon at 4:30 at the Rock Falls Regional.
And awaiting them will be Riverdale (17-9), which dropped both TRAC-9 meetings to Morrison (23-9) as the latter club went on to earn its 12th conference title in 13 seasons. Earlier last week, the Fillies visited the Rams and broke the game open with five seventh-inning runs, winning 7-0 to clinch the Three Rivers pennant.
"You know, it's just like we have to go with who we get,'' said Morrison coach Tammy Deter. "Even though we've played them twice and won both times, they're always a team to fear.''
After the title-clinching win over the Rams last Tuesday, though, the Fillies dropped three of their last four games, with the losses including a 5-4 decision to reigning 4A state champ Moline and then a 1-2 finish at last weekend's Lisle Tournament.
"We played some good teams, but we weren't clicking on all cylinders Saturday,'' said Deter. "But the girls have had some good practices, and they're in good spirits, which is all you can hope for. Everyone's on the same page now, and all the games we've won and lost haved prepared them and made them a bit stronger.''
Riverdale closed the regular season rattling off three straight victories as senior Taylor Mericle and junior Sadie Mosher both enjoyed big weeks at the plate, combining to belt out 14 hits and drive in 21 runs in a four-game stretch.
Mosher also tossed a five-inning no-hitter in the season finale against Ridgewood, and with senior standout Rachel Wirt gives the Rams a solid pitching corps to match up against Morrison's duo of senior ace and 18-game winner Morgan Ammon and sophomore Allie Wiersema.
"The girls are excited to get this third chance to play Morrison; they're pretty pumped about it,'' said Riverdale coach Teri Peterson, whose club is seeded third at Rock Falls behind the No. 1 regional hosts and the No. 2 Fillies.
"We have six seniors, and they want to continue; the whole team wants to continue to play. Morrison is a great team, but we're up for that challenge. We're hoping the third time is a charm.''
Moline, IL Details
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