East Ridge's up and down season took a turn for the better in early May.
The Raptors (7-6, 5-6) won three straight softball games May 3-5 over Suburban East Conference opponents Roseville, Stillwater and Mounds View. In that stretch, the Raptors outscored them 20-6.
It started with the Raptors bouncing back from a 3-2 loss May 2 at White Bear Lake to beat Roseville 10-2 on May 3. The Raptors then won a tight contest with Stillwater 3-2 on May 4 followed by a 7-1 win over Mounds View on May 5.
"We had some key hits at the right time," Raptors coach Afton Murray said. "We also had a great performance from our pitching staff."
Especially against Stillwater (10-2, 8-2 SEC), which had beaten the other two top teams in the conference at the time earlier in the week. Raptors senior pitcher Hannah Stegeman pitched five innings against the Ponies and threw 12 first-pitch strikes. Junior pitcher Alexandra Retica went two innings for the Raptors and struck out one batter.
"We have talked about playing one pitch at a time," Murray said. "We have tried hard to focus on what's right in front of us and to compete to win every pitch."
It paid off against the Ponies as the Raptors allowed two runs on nine hits. The offense came through in the sixth inning with two runs as the Raptors never trailed.
Raptors senior infielder Maddie Weid led with two hits and two RBIs. Retica and sophomore outfielder Molly Seif each had two hits. Junior outfielder Jada Western Boy drove in a run.
East Ridge got another challenge on Tuesday with Forest Lake (9-4, 6-4 SEC). The Raptors visit Cretin-Derham Hall (4-9, 3-7 SEC) Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. and close the week with hosting White Bear Lake (4-8, 3-6 SEC) Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Tough games remain on East Ridge's schedule, including games against Park and Woodbury in the final week of the regular season.
"Every team in conference is good, so we know we will have some tough games," Murray said. "We will continue to focus on us and what we can do to reach our goals we have set for each game and for the season."