High School Softball: Franklin tops Fenwick to advance

FRANKLIN — Tatum Riddiough was feeling just fine. Her Franklin High School teammates felt even better.

Riddiough struck out seven in a three-hit complete game performance, and Adrian Allen clubbed a two-run homer as the second-seeded Wildcats beat the sixth-seeded Fenwick Falcons 9-1 in a Division II sectional on Thursday night at Franklin’s Community Park.

“I was very proud of my outing today,” said Riddiough, a junior. “I feel like all of my pitches were working quite well. My curveball was working fantastic. They had a hard time catching up to that. My spin was looking great.

“I don’t know if you heard it, but that pop was perfect. It was spinning, it was popping in our catcher’s glove like nobody’s business.”

Franklin (17-8) took care of business two days in a row. The Wildcats cruised by Alter 15-0 in their postseason opener on Wednesday, which got pushed from Tuesday due to weather.

“We’re going to forget about this one and move on,” Franklin coach Jim Miller said. “We’re going to come out tomorrow and work on some hitting that we need to work on a little bit. We haven’t had a whole lot of time to get some good practices in. So, we need to be ready for the next game.”

The Wildcats erupted for a season-high 19 runs in their victory over the Falcons back on March 27. Franklin has won the last three meetings between the two schools that are separated by a 10-minute drive.

The Wildcats have won five of their last six and host the winner of Wilmington and Eaton on Tuesday, May 16, in a district semifinal.

“It’s win and advance right now. That’s what it is,” Miller said. “It just took us a longer time to get going. We didn’t adjust to what she was throwing very well. We did adjust finally that one inning and hit the ball hard a couple times. Sometimes you have to win like that.”

Zehring (2 for 3, two runs) and Susan Gray (2 for 4) paced Franklin, which moved out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

Kati Levo’s solo homer run in the top of the fourth was all the offense Fenwick (6-14) would muster up. Hadley Von Bargen struck out three in the circle for Fenwick.

“I’m extremely proud of where the girls have come from,” Falcons first-year coach Glenn Gibbons said. “I’ve got girls who have never played before. I had my No. 1 pitcher go down about two weeks ago, and my shortstop has been the one pitching all of our games.

“It’s ones of those things where we had struggles scoring runs all year, but from where they’ve come from the beginning to not swinging the bat or being afraid to being able to push this team to the fifth inning in a 3-1 game, I couldn’t be more proud.”

Franklin scored seven straight runs to pull away, and Allen’s homer highlighted a three-run fifth inning. Sarah Brooks added a two-RBI single in the sixth.

Riddiough held her ground in the pitcher’s circle to close it out.

“She’s been throwing well all year,” Miller said of Riddiough, who is 11-3 on the season. “She throws hard. She’s got good movement on the ball. You’ve just got to keep her calmed down a little bit, and she’s hard to hit.”

Fenwick graduates seniors Gianna Frongia, Kati Levo and Mary Griffith.

“I’ve got a lot of girls returning,” said Gibbons, who recollected on his first season as a varsity head coach. “Overall, to see them grow throughout the year, there’s a lot of good things for them coming next year. Every girl that I saw that had come out got better. Every day, every practice, every game, they got better — no matter what the scores were and no matter how much we lost by.

“I felt like I got better as a coach coaching these girls throughout the year. At the beginning, I had that travel ball mentality. I’ve got to push and push. Then I kind of started to realize that this girl needs to be pushed this way, and this girl needs to be pushed that way and be more supportive. I grew as a coach, and I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to do this.”

About the Author