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Cook pitches Raptors past Royals

East Ridge pitcher Abbey Cook throws a strike in the fifth inning April 23, 2018, against Woodbury. Cook threw 13 strikeouts in a 3-hit shutout of the Royals. John Molene / Sports Writer1 / 4
Woodbury's Amanda Dickmeyer fields the ball and throws out an East Ridge runner in the sixth inning. John Molene / Sports Writer2 / 4
Woodbury's Kaitlyn Rocco races down the first base line after ripping a two-out triple in the sixth inning for the Royals. John Molene / Sports Writer3 / 4
East Ridge's Grace Bennett (15), Josie Dorf, Abbey Cook (6) and Allison Richmond (5) are all smiles as they walk off the field after a 4-0 softball win over rival Woodbury Monday. John Molene / Sports Writer4 / 4

East Ridge pitcher Abbey Cook twirled a 3-hit shutout gem and the Raptors played flawlessly behind her in a rousing 4-0 softball win over crosstown rival Woodbury Monday, April 23.

Playing indoors in the Health East Sports Center, the Raptors had their second straight game of standout pitching defense and hitting to go to 2-0 on the season.

"I think we did a good job defensively just kind of shutting them down," said East Ridge head coach Afton Murray. "So that was good. We allowed the first runner on but then we kind of shut them down from there. I think defensively we had a great game. Abbey threw phenomenal on the mound."

Cook was dominate. She struck out 13, walked just one and allowed only three hits in a complete game victory. Cook pitched well throughout, but perhaps never better than in the fourth inning when she set down Woodbury's four, five and six hitters on three straight strikeouts.

She allowed just a single extra-base hit, a two-out triple to Woodbury's Kaitlyn Rocco in the sixth inning. She made the next put out herself, fielding a ground ball and tossing it to first to end the inning.

"I think we're all really excited for the season to start, especially with all the snow and stuff," said Cook.

East Ridge got all the offense it needed by scoring two runs in the third and adding two more in the fourth.

Junior shortstop Sidney Zavoral ripped a bases-loaded triple in the third to drive in the first two runs for the Raptors.

"I thought our defense was really strong, all-around, everybody in the outfield and everybody in the infield," said Zavoral. "Everybody was working and we got our bunt coverage down today. That's been a problem."

The Raptors got two more runs in the fourth on a leadoff single by Kaylee Peterson, sacrifices by Jada Western Boy and Madalyn Slavin and a fielder's choice.

"We've got a lot of things going for us right now," said Murray. "We just to have to keep building on it and continue to do the little things right."

Woodbury didn't play badly, and got good pitching from their young pitchers and played well on defense. The Royals could never string together any hits against Cook however. Woodbury had one hit in the first, one in the second and that was it until Rocco's two-out shot in the sixth.

Woodbury fell to 0-1.

"I think we played well," said Woodbury head coach Michelle Welch. "We didn't play our best softball but for being a young team we got out the first-game jitters. I was happy with our pitching and catching. But overall I thought they did a great job."

Monday's game was the first of five straight for the Raptors this week. They host Park Tuesday, play at Roseville Wednesday, host Cretin-Derham Hall Thursday and are at White Bear Lake Friday.

Woodbury hosts Park on Wednesday and Cretin on Friday.

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