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Softball: Dorf, Zavoral homer Raptors to section win

East Ridge junior outfielder Molly Seif tracks down this fly ball for an out in the third inning Tuesday against Rosemount in section softball play. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
East Ridge shortstop Sidney Zvoral and pitcher Abbey Cook share a smile as the Raptors close in on a section-opening win over Rosemount Tuesday. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
East Ridge slugger Josie Dorf will foul off this pitch, but on her very next one she connected for a three-run home run to help lift the Raptors to a 6-1 win over Rosemount Tuesday in girls softball section play. John Molene / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

East Ridge coach Afton Murray has got this softball thing finally figured out. Pitch well, play good defense and let Sidney Zavoral and Josie Dorf hit home runs.

For the second game in a row, Zavoral and Dorf let their big bats do the talking—both homering—to drive in all six runs and lead the Raptors to a 6-1 section-opening win over visiting Rosemount Tuesday.

Zavoral ripped a three-run shot in the first inning and Dorf followed with a three-run blast in the fifth, her third home run of the season. The two have combined to drive in 11 runs in a consecutive sweep of Woodbury and Rosemount.

"I think a big thing was scoring in the first," said Zavoral. "That's a big thing to always start off the game with some runs, that's always good."

East Ridge (13-7) advances to play section top-seed and fourth-ranked Park (20-1) in the second round Thursday. That game will be held in Cottage Grove, starting at 4:30 p.m. Park swept the regular-season meetings this spring, winning 4-3 and 8-1.

"I think we did a good job of attacking at the plate and that's what we have to have," said East Ridge coach Afton Murray. "Our defense played great as well, so I was happy with that."

In other Section 3AAAA first-round games Tuesday, Park blanked Apple Valley 10-0, Hastings edged Henry Sibley 1-0 and second-seeded Eastview slipped past Eagan 9-8. Park and East Ridge will play, while Hastings and Eastview battle Thursday.

"I definitely think it's going to be an intense game and I think we really need to bring it because Park obviously being the No. 1 see they're going to be a tough team," said Dorf of the upcoming game Thursday. "But I think if we score in a bunch of innings and have solid defense then we'll be good."

East Ridge got off to a fast start, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first to take a 3-0 lead. Morgan Anderson led off the game with a double, Avery Wucawitz walked and both scored on Zavoval's four-bagger.

Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, East Ridge got its offense working again. Wucawitz singled, Zavoral doubled and both scored on Dorf's home run.

East Ridge pitcher Abbey Cook pitched herself into, and then out of, jams in the second and seventh innings, mostly by issuing free rides. Cook struck out six but also walked seven. She gave up just three hits.

"I think section-time there's a little bit extra adrenaline today," said Murray. "So I think she did a great job coming back and stepping up when we needed her to."

Rosemount scored one in the second, but that was it for the Irish. Rosemount put runners in scoring position several times the rest of the game, but could not push any more runs across.

In the second Cook faced loaded the bases with two out but got the next batter to line out to shortstop Zavoral to end the threat.

"Our defense is going for everything," said Zavoral. "We're leaving it all out there because we're on the road to state."

In the seventh, Cook walked two of the first four batters, but got a 4-3 out to end the game.