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Softball: Raptors homer past Royals in softball finale

East Ridge junior shortstop Sidney Zavoral celebrates a 5-4 win over host Woodbury Friday in the final game of the regular season for both teams. Zavoral ripped a two-run home run for the Raptors in the fifth inning and made several key defensive plays. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 4
Woodbury senior shortstop Amanda Dickmeyer tags out East Ridge baserunner Caitlin Olafsson at second in the fifth inning. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 4
East Ridge junior catcher Josie Dorf grins after socking a three-run home run in the first inning to get the Raptors off to a quick lead against Woodbury Friday. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 4
East Ridge pitcher Grace Bennett smiles as she signals two out in the bottom of the seventh. The Raptors defeated Woodbury Friday in the regular-season finale to finish third in the Suburban East Conference. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 4

The first question stumped East Ridge sluggers Josie Dorf and Sidney Zavoral only for a moment.

"Who had the better home run?" the pair was asked following East Ridge's 5-4 softball win over Woodbury in the final regular season game for both teams Friday at Ojibway Park.

"Josie," said Zavoral.

"I think they were both equally pretty good home runs," said Dorf. And that settled that.

Dorf hit a three-run homer in the first inning and Zavoral added a two-run shot in the fifth to lead the Raptors to the 5-4 victory.

The win gave the Raptors a third-place finish in the Suburban East Conference this spring, a nice place to be after finishing sixth a year ago. East Ridge was 7-9 in the SEC last season, and went 9-11 in the regular season, improving both marks this time around.

The Raptors finished 9-7 in the conference and 12-7 overall.

"We still have some stuff that we need to clean up," said East Ridge coach Afton Murray. "But I think overall we're putting the pieces together when we need to.

Murray was particularly happy with the Raptors at bats Friday.

"I just think our approach at the plate," Murray said. "I think we did a good job of continuing to stay aggressive. We had runners on almost every inning. I think if we continue to do that good things will happen."

Woodbury — last year's conference champion—ended the regular season 7-9 in the SEC and 7-11 on the season.

The Royals dropped a pair of one-run games to end the regular season. Still, after a horrendous 1-9 start, the Royals turned their season around, winning six of their last nine and pushing second-ranked Forest Lake to the limit before falling 4-3 Thursday.

"I don't feel that we have a hump to get over," said Woodbury head coach Michelle Welch. "We've been leaning in the right direction the entire season.

"We played solid defense today, our hitting could have been a little better but everyone got their bat on the ball which is what we ask for here. Five games in five days is hard.

"We're pleased with where our team is and where they're going," said Woodbury assistant coach Rachel Nicholas. "We don't see this as a setback by any means."

The Raptors got offensive early Friday. Anderson signaled to open the game and went to second on a sacrifice by Avery Wukawitz. Zavoral singled and Dorf then ripped a 3-run shot over the fences.