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Softball: Mickschl leads Royals past Raptors

Woodbury's Ashley Mickschl gave up two runs on four hits, striking out five and walking one in a complete game victory over East Ridge Friday. Photo by John Molene1 / 6
Woodbury shortstop Amanda Dickmeyer fires to first for the third out in the fifth inning as East Ridge's Molly Seif runs behind her. Photo by John Molene2 / 6
East Ridge shortstop Sidney Zavoral grins as she gets the out at second after a brief bobble. Photo by John Molene3 / 6
The Royals prepare to greet Ashley Mickschl as she comes home after hitting a third-inning home run against East Ridge Friday. Photo by John Molene4 / 6
East Ridge catcher Josie Dorf tags out Woodbury's Ellie Condon at the plate as she tries to score in the third inning. Photo by John Molene5 / 6
East Ridge left fielder Kaylee Peterson puts the squeeze on a fly ball caught in the fourth inning against Woodbury. Photo by John Molene6 / 6

There was not much that senior softball standout Ashley Mickschl didn't do Friday for the Royals.

And what she didn't accomplish, her teammates were able to pick up the slack.

Mickschl homered in the third, went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and held East Ridge to four hits on the mound in a 12-2 win at East Ridge.

The win moved the eighth-ranked Royals to four wins on the season and was another demonstration of the Royals' overall strength this spring. Woodbury rapped out 14 hits, played superior defense and got stellar pitching in the win.

"I think all-around our team did offensively really well," said Mickschl. "We came out strong. But defensively we were strong, too."

East Ridge (2-5, 2-6) swept the Royals last season. Before that, Woodbury had won four straight in the crosstown series.

The Royals got off to a blazing start by hitting a single and three consecutive doubles to open the game. By the time most fans has settled in, Woodbury already had a 4-0 lead. Leadoff batter Amanda Dickmeyer singled to start the game, followed by doubles from Cam Veenbaas, Meagan Bliese and Mickschl.

East Ridge scored two in the bottom of the first, but that proved the only time they would do any damage against Mickschl and the Royals.

"It's always important to start out strong, and that's kind of one of our main focus this season as a team is to come out strong offensively and get the ball rolling and keep it going throughout the game," said Mickschl.

A fast start was "very important because confidence is everything for both teams," said assistant Woodbury coach Bob Nickleby. "They (the Raptors) have been a thorn in our sides for years. We needed to get a victory here."

Mickschl went the distance on the mound, allowing two runs on four hits. She struck out five and walked one.

"It was good to see Ashley had a lot of snap on her balls today," said Nickleby. "She looked better. She struggled a little bit. For her struggling looks really good. She hasn't been herself, but today she was really sharp."

The Royals played errorless defense behind Mickschl.

"We had some bobbles here and there, but we definitely stuck with the plays," said shortstop Dickmeyer. "Our defense was solid all around. Ashley pitched a great game, so it's definitely beneficial when you have your pitcher pitch like that."

The Royals added three more in the third and closed out the game with four runs in the seventh.

Mickschl ripped a two-run homer in the third to give herself some breathing room.

Woodbury's Anna O'Connor capped the game with a two-run double in the seventh.

"They had a great game," East Ridge coach Afton Murray said of the Royals. "They hit the ball well and defensively they're just very sound.

"I thought we attacked well at the plate," Murray added. "She's a good pitcher, and I think our mentality was to kind of go after her. She'll give you one or two good pitches so you'd better be ready for it. So I think we did a good job. We hit the ball right at a few kids a few times, but we at least hit the ball hard. We just need a little more consistency all the way around."

Alexandra Retica went 2-for-3 with one RBI to lead the Raptors offensively. Morgan Anderson and Sidney Zavoral were each 1-for-3.

Woodbury also won at Forest Lake on Saturday to improve its record to 5-2 this season. East Ridge now holds a record of 4-7 this season.