The Norfolk Golden Girls 16s split a doubleheader with the Columbus Fire and Ice on Thursday evening at Ta-Ha-Zouka park in Norfolk. They won the first game 4-3 and then lost the second 6-5.

Tara Koch’s walk-off double helped carry the Golden Girls to a comeback victory in the first game. Going into the bottom of the fourth, the Golden Girls were trailing 3-0. Ryllee Hoppe walked to start the fourth inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Emilee Spitz. In the bottom of the fifth, Hannah Renner hit an RBI double to score Cara Graae. Koch won the game by scoring Cydnee Hopkins.

Hannah Renner’s hitting helped carry the team, as she went 2-2 with an RBI and a double.

Koch was on the mound for the Golden Girls in the first game, striking out one batter and allowing three runs.

“Their strong will and determination, and their way of playing together,” coach Bob Hoppe said after being asked about what helped the team to its win in the first game. “They’re playing as a team. It’s been a rough year, but they’ve been playing really hard and they’ve been getting after it lately.”

Although the Golden Girls managed a comeback to win the first game, Columbus did the same in the second game. The Golden Girls were leading 5-1 after the top of the fourth inning, but Columbus came back to score a run in the bottom of the fourth, two runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth to beat the Golden Girls 6-5. The Golden Girls were kept scoreless during the last two innings of play.

Rylee Renner took the loss on the mound for the Golden Girls, allowing six runs and striking out one.

“A lot of improvements could be made on our fielding and hitting. Not getting down when we let the other team get up on us,” Hoppe said when asked about where his team needs to get better, “that we don’t get down on ourselves and let it carry over to where we get out of the game, but that we just get right back in it.”

The Golden Girls 16s’ next game is Tuesday against Pender. The team goes to the USSSA State Tournament in Lincoln the following weekend.

Game 1

R H E

Columbus Fire & Ice 0 2 0 0 1 3 5 3

Norfolk Golden Girls 0 0 0 1 3 4 3 1

WP: Tara Koch LP: Joslyn Olson

2B: Hannah Renner, Tara Koch

Game 2

R H E

Norfolk Golden Girls 3 0 0 2 0 0 5 7 3

Columbus Fire and Ice 1 0 0 1 2 2 6 11 3

WP: Melanie Jones LP: Rylee Renner

2B: Cydnee Hopkins, Tara Koch

In other news

Times are changing and the Norfolk Golden Girls under-18 softball team is changing with them. With the exception of its own tournament during the first week in June, the team spent its entire 2019 season on the road.