Prep Softball: Class 1A Brings the Excitement in the Opening Round

Prep Softball- Rain briefly fell before the start of postseason softball in southeast Iowa and it must have left something in the air because thrilling was the main adjective to describe the action last night.

For Class 1A Region 6, thrilling softball was the name of the game with two games decided by defense in the final inning.

In New London, it was a bitter rivalry between the Tigers and the Danville Bears that got the postseason underway with the road team getting on the board first with an RBI single by Aubrey Nahorny in the top of the first inning. Lillie Gallup knotted the game at one in the second inning with her own single.

The fourth inning was the next big surge of runs with Alivia Bauer placing down an RBI bunt single to cap off a three run fourth inning for the Bears. Shaylee Brothersen would cut the lead in half with an RBI single, 4 to 2 Danville. The sixth inning was when the wheels fell off for the Tigers, surrendering five runs, including a two RBI double for Nahorny and an RBI sacrifice for Marley Garland to give Danville a 9 to 2 lead.

Gracie Huff for Danville and Sophie Malott, the lone senior for New London, shut the other down in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh innings to limit the Tigers to three outs and seven runs to score.

New London’s head coach Emily Parks said after the game that she had a team meeting a couple days before the game and her team rallied behind a particular goal,

“We left base runners on earlier in the game, but you know, we weren’t giving up. We had goals at the beginning. We talked about it at practice yesterday. Our personal goals and our team goals, and everyone of them said that they were not going to give up. We were going until that last strike that last out…”

It started with a walk by Brothersen, a bloop single for Morgan Jones. Malott was plucked to load the bases with an out on the board. Megan Lee’s play in the infield induced an error. Lena Nelson worked her third walk of the game to push another run across.

A couple passed balls and errors had New London back in the game. Down 9 to 7 with the bases load only one out, the Tigers seemed destined to take back the game. Then, Nahorny came up with the play on game.

Playing third, Nahorny reeled in a tough popout and stepped on third to record an unassisted double play. Game over, Danville advanced with a 9-7 win over New London.

Like most of the crowd who witnessed the play, Danville’s head coach Sydney Kramer was speechless,

“You know, I’m kind of at a loss for words to be honest with you. You know, just watching the girls fight back, this is the rebuilding that we’ve been wanting to see and seeing them reach this goal this year has been everything that I think they’ve all been wanting and just hoping to see it keep going.”

Coach Parks had nothing but pride to share about the way her team played,

“…I’m so incredibly proud of them, like they did not give up. We had people step into positions that, you know, we hadn’t really played all year. But you know, we had to do what we had to do. And I’m just so proud that they never gave up.”

The Tigers finished the season with a 2-19 record and for Coach Parks it was an emotional goodbye to her one senior, Sophie Malott,

“So she’s my niece. Also. She gives it her all every time like you can put her anywhere on the field and she does her job. I mean, she started all five years and she has played. She was the catcher. She was third and she was short. She was pitcher, you know, she did it. She’s a huge leader on the field. Like I said, she pitched maybe a couple games earlier in the year, but you know, she was always someone that we could rely on to put up there to at least throw strikes. And, you know, she got a couple of strikeouts to end her high school career. So, what more could she ask for? But yeah, she did her part and couldn’t be more proud.”

Danville is set to hit the road against Twin Cedars on Wednesday, July 10th, at 7 pm and the team message could not be clearer,

“Confidence. Just confidence. Keeping it simple. Simple plays,” said coach Kramer. “Seeing the ball when we’re hitting, fielding the ball first. Before you know, we try to make a throw. And just settling in and gaining confidence, I think the 7th inning for us is a prime example of how far we still have to come being such a young team that the second something may slip. Instead of staying confident and sure of ourselves, we kind of start freaking out a little bit. So seeing them rebuild that confidence with that last play was, I think everything that they needed to see themselves to understand that we’re heading in the right direction.”

Elsewhere, Winfield-Mt. Union and Pekin were battling for their seasons as the Wolves clawed their way back from a 7 to 1 deficit to win 9-8. Centerfielder Jose Nelson was the hero, throwing out the tying run at home to win the contest.

Makiah Lower and Nelson, who doubled, led the offense with two RBIs apiece. Kellee Milks tabbed a double and an RBI. Aubrey Valencia and Lilly Heckethorn each notched an RBI.

The Wolves will have to wait for their opponent as Holy Trinity Catholic and WACO had their game postponed to Tuesday night at 7 pm due to a wet field. KILJ will be on the call for that matchup on Wednesday at 7 pm.

In Region 8, Highland trounced Keota 13-1. The Huskies will take on Calamus-Wheatland in a road matchup at 7 pm.

Wapello’s ace Ada Boysen notched 17 strikeouts to defeat Hillcrest Academy 6-2. The Arrows will face off against English Valleys at 7 pm on the road.

Lone Tree lost 12-10 to Springville. The Lions finished the season 12-14.