Lady E’Hawks Earn Tie At State Softball Tournament
FORT DODGE – In the end, the big winner was Mother Nature. The 2008 Iowa Girls State Softball Championships saw torrential downpours of rain, cancellations of games, and a rare Sunday afternoon game during the tourney, held this past week at Harlan Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.
For Emmetsburg’s Lady E’Hawks, the state tournament appearance ended up with a tie for seventh place in Class 2A, after the Lady E’Hawks were unable to play their seventh-place consolation game with Pleasantville on Friday.
After a downpour struck the tournament Thursday afternoon, the Class 2A consolation games scheduled for Friday were scuttled by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union in order to get the tournament completed.
For Emmetsburg Head Coach Jeny Garst and the Lady E’Hawks, the cancellation of the seventh place game was a disappointment on Friday morning.
“The girls weren’t ready for the season to be over,” Garst noted, “but they were able to play two games at the state tournament and are one of the eight best teams in class 2A. I wish we could have won out, but this is still a good ending to a solid season.”
Emmetsburg would settle for the tie after losing their first round game on Wednesday afternoon to Akron-Westfield by a 4-0 score, and then falling in the consolation round to Des Moines Christian on Thursday morning by a 4-2 tally.
The Lady E’Hawks opened their first state tourney appearance Wednesday afternoon meeting Akron-Westfield on Diamond One. The Westerners got double in the top of the first, but left the runner stranded. Emmetsburg would go down in order in their bottom of the inning for a scoreless first frame.
In the second, Akron-Westfield opened with a base hit and would go on to score a run off another base hit to take a 1-0 lead midway through the second. Emmetsburg would lead off with Alex Lock drawing a walk, but courtesy runners Nicole Leuer was left waiting when the Lady E’Hawks went down in order. the Westerners and Lady E’Hawks would trade outs in the third inning as Akron-Westfield held on to a slim, 1-0 lead to start the fourth inning.
A pair of singles would once again propel a run over the plate for the Westerners in the top of the inning. Emmetsburg would go down in order in the bottom of the fourth to trail 2-0 as the fifth inning started.
Emmetsburg’s defense came up with a couple of nice plays in the top of the fifth, as Morgan Vlasman made a grab for a put out at first before right fielder Caitlin Wise made a leaping somersaulting catch for the second out. A putout from Nichole Hasbrouck to Vlasman would end the inning for Akron-Westfield and bring the Lady E’Hawks to the plate.
Janna Hoch led off the bottom of the fifth by drawing a walk and moved to second when Vlasman also earned a walk with one out. However, the duo would be stranded when wise and Kendall Corley were struck out to end the at-bat.
Akron-Westfield would lead off the sixth with a standing double, but an error would advance the runner, who would move to third. With runners at first and third, Emmetsburg’s defense clamped down and got the remaining two outs off a short infield fly to Vlasman and a fly ball to Tiffany Wollum at second base.
Emmetsburg would try to mound a counter attack in the bottom of the sixth, but led off with a strikeout. Tiffany Wollum would get on base off an error, but was left at first when Hasbrouck was struck out and Lock hit a foul fly ball to third base for the third out.
Emmetsburg pitcher Maddison Woodruff tallied her seventh strikeout of the game to open the seventh inning, but an error would put a runner on first. After a stolen base, a pick off attempt went bad at second and put a runner on third base. A fielders’ choice allowed the runner to score. A sacrifice advanced the runner, but another error would allow the runner to come home and score for a 4-0 lead before the at-bat ended on a put out at first.
The Lady E’Hawks had one final chance for a rally as they came up to bat in the bottom of the seventh inning. Janna Hoch and Maddison Woodruff were both quickly struck out, but Morgan Vlasman stepped up with two outs and got Emmetsburg’s lone hit of the game. The hit was four naught, however, as Wise was struck out to end the game in the 4-0 setback for the Lady E’Hawks.
Maddison Woodruff took the loss in the circle, surrendering four runs, three of which were earned, off six hits, while striking out seven batters out of the 31 she faced in seven innings.
Morgan Vlasman recorded Emmetsburg’s only hit in the contest, her single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The loss sent the Lady E’Hawks into the Consolation round on Thursday morning, with a 10:30 game with Des Moines Christian’s Lions. This time, the Lady E’Hawks were the visiting team on the scoreboard and started the game by being retired in order.
Moving to the defense, the Lady E’Hawks got the first out off a diving catch by Tiffany Wollum at second base, and then got a strikeout before the Lions got a runner on base off a single down the third base line. However, Wollum ended the inning when she caught a line drive for the third out.
Emmetsburg opened the second inning with a strikeout by Alex Lock, but Janna Hoch took a pitch from Des Moines’ Becca McCoy over the left center field fence for a solo home run to get Emmetsburg on the scoreboard.
Maddison Woodruff followed up with a base hit of her own, and moved to second off a base hit by Morgan Vlasman. However, the duo would be left waiting when when Frankie Schmidt was put out at first and Kendall Corley hit a fly ball to right field to end the at-bat with the Lady E’Hawks holding a 2-0 advantage.
Des Moines Christian would answer quickly in the bottom of the second, as they got a leadoff walk and a single, but earned a strikeout before the leadoff runner was put out at home on a force following a walk and a fielder’s choice. With two away, the Lions scored two runs off a single before the Lady E’Hawk defense made the stop to end the inning with a 2-2 tie score.
Emmetsburg went down in order in the top of the third, while Des Moines Christian would get a single and runner hit by a pitch in their half of the inning, but couldn’t convert the opportunity to leave the score knotted at 2-2. In the top of the fourth, Emmetsburg went down one quick out, but Janna Hoch drew a walk, only to be stranded at first. The Lions were retired in order in the bottom of the fourth to leave the game still deadlocked at 2-2 to start the fifth inning.
The Lady E’Hawks continued to struggle to mount an offense in the top of the fifth, going down in order once again. But when the Lions came up, they were able to make something happen offensively.
A leadoff walk would turned into a scored after a fly ball and a sacrifice bunt for the second out. A base hit would score the run to break the deadlock, but the runner was stranded when Woodruff earned her fifth strikeout of the game to end the inning.
Now trailing 3-2, Emmetsburg went down in order once again in the top of the sixth, and the Lions came up to duplicate their effort in their at-bat.
Katie Johnson-Martin took a Woodruff pitch over the fence for a leadoff solo home run to put the Lions up 4-2. A walk put a runner on first before a sacrifice tallied the first out. However, a line drive to Nichole Hasbrouck at short turned into a double play as Hasbrouck quickly threw to second to pick off the base runner to end the sixth.
With one final opportunity, Emmetsburg tried to mount an offense, but was Janna Hoch hit a line drive to short for the first out, Maddison Woodruff hit a fly ball to left field for the second out and Morgan Vlasman strike out to end the game, and eventually, the tournament appearance for the Lady E’Hawks, as less than two hours later, a downpour would nearly flood Rogers Park and force the cancellation of the Friday consolation games.
Maddison Woodruff would take the loss, as she surrendered four runs off six hits, with five strikeouts and four walks.
Emmetsburg got a home run shot from Janna Hoch, along with singles from Maddison Woodruff and Morgan Vlasman in the loss.
The season ended for Emmetsburg with a final mark of 25 wins and 11 losses, and a three-way tie for second place in the Lakes Conference with Spencer and Estherville Lincoln Central behind Storm Lake.
Emmetsburg will have a solid future to look to next season, as there were no seniors on this year’s team. Mollie Smith will be the lone returning senior next season, with the remainder of the returning lineup being juniors and sophomores.