The Rockford softball team can play the sympathy card.
Just two years ago, it was in a very similar situation as Northwood-Kensett in wins coming at a premium and a lot of games ending by the third, fourth or fifth inning.
"It is difficult when you're on the receiving end of that and we've been there. It is not fun," Warriors head coach Makaela Hoffman said. "You don't want to make it feel any worse for them."
So every player in the Rockford dugout got an at-bat and there were a sizeable amount of hits, walks and plenty of runs scored in its 21-1 three-inning victory over the Vikings on Monday night in a Top of Iowa East contest.
The 21 runs mark a new season-high for the Warriors.
"It was a good time to play some of our younger girls," Hoffman said.
It was a 15-run first inning as Rockford (6-8, 3-5 TIC-East) batted around its lineup twice and recorded seven hits. Then it added six more runs in the second to lead by 20.
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That stuck all the way until the final out.
"It is good for those girls that play every night to let someone step into their place and being able to encourage them," Hoffman said. "We were being aggressive."
Warriors eighth grader Danika DeBuhr went 3-for-3 at the plate out of the No. 7 spot with five RBIs, the last three on a bases-clearing double in the second frame. Senior and leadoff hitter Chloe Rooney drove in three runs.
All nine starters for Rockford reached base and seven of them notched at least one hit. Hannah Hillman, DeBuhr and Avery Groven crossed home three times and five others scored twice.
For the Vikings (0-11, 0-10), head coach Brett Schmidt saw small progress.
They loaded the bases in the first and third innings on good contact. Even a couple outs were loud outs.
"They're starting to develop," Schmidt said. "The last two games have progressively gotten better and better. Pretty stoked on that."
Hadley Buenzow drove in their only run on a single. She was one of six Northwood-Kensett hitters with one hit on the night. Its season run total is now up to four.
Even though the Vikings haven't played a game into the fourth inning yet, Schmidt has seen growth in a team that not only has a whole new coaching staff, but has just two juniors and the rest are underclassmen.
"They are improving per game," Schmidt said. "Hopefully, they'll keep growing and growing and come regionals, maybe we'll sneak one in."
Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Reach him via email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.