When Ripon College head softball coach Brooke Kalman scheduled the Augustana Invitational, her goal was to prepare her team for the conference season.

   While it went 0-4 at the two-day competition last weekend, she believes it accomplished just that.

   “This weekend simulated the weekends when we will play conference games Saturdays and Sundays,” Kalman said of the invitational. “It was also a chance for me to tweak a few things and get a last look at some of players before I decide who my starting nine or 10 will be come conference time.”

   The Ripon head coach added she thinks the competition the Red Hawks faced down in Augustana only made the team better, noting they played two “very strong programs” and they held their own.

   The closest Ripon (4-10 overall) came to picking up a win last weekend was in its first game against host school Augustana, which it lost 4-3 in nine innings.

   It jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on RBIs from Isabella Osborn and Teara Morgenroth, and led 3-2 in the eighth inning after an Osborn RBI double, but gave back the runs in the bottom of the frame both times.

   The Red Hawks could have scored more runs in the eighth inning, but hit into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs.

   Augustana then won the game in the ninth with the help of an error.

   “We basically handed Augustana game one,” Kalman said. “We played Ripon softball in all but two innings and, unfortunately, those two innings were when we basically threw away the lead.”

   The other three games of the trip weren’t as close as Ripon lost to Dubuque 8-1 and 3-0, and was defeated again by Augustana 8-0.

Read the full story, which includes information on strong pitching performances by Lexi Reetz, as well as a gutsy one by Rebeccah Jones, in the March 30, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.