Lady Wolverines Edged To End Season
ALGONA Hopes for a long second season were dashed Wednesday night for West Bend-Mallard/Gilmore City-Bradgate as the Lady Wolverines saw their softball season end in a 5-4 loss to North Iowa in Class 1A Second Round Regional Tournament play.
The Lady Wolverines would get a walk in the top of the first inning from Liesel Schwartzkopf after Kayla Banwart flew out and Courtney Bargmann was put out at first. However, Schwartzkopf would be left waiting at first when Rachel Wirtz was put out to end the at-bat. North Iowa would get a run in the bottom of the first off a pair of base hits before leaving a runner stranded to end the inning.
Kenzie Grimm would lead off the second inning for WBM/GCB with a base hit to left, and stole second before moving to third off a sacrifice fly by Harrison Schmidt. Cassie Gearhart was put out at first and Ashley Schmidt would be put out at first to leave Grimm stranded a third to end the opportunity. The Lady Wolverine defense tightened up in the bottom of the second and retired the Lady Bison in order to end the inning.
In the top of the third, Lauren Thatcher struck out to lead off for the Lady Wolverines, but Kayla Banwart laced a base hit into center field. Thatcher would steal second and then steal third before she came home off a passed ball after Courtney Bargmann was put out. But Liesel Schwartzkopf would be put out to end the opportunity, but now the score was tied at 1-1. North Iowa would quickly go down an out, but got a base hit, only to leave their runner waiting at third base when the purple and gold defense made the final two outs to end the third.
West Bend-Mallard/ Gil-more City-Bradgate would be retired in order in the top of the fourth, but North Iowa would strand two runners in their half of the fourth inning after a pair of base hits to leave the game knotted at 1-1 to start the fifth frame.
The Lady Wolverines led off the fifth with a base hit from Cassie Gearhart, and Ashley Schmidt pounded a double to the center field fence. But the two runners would be left waiting in scoring position when Lauren Thatcher and Kayla Banwart were struck out and Courtney Bargmann flew out to end the golden opportunity. North Iowa led off the fifth putting a runner on base off an error before scoring a run off a double. Two outs would follow the big hit before a passed ball allowed a run to score. An error put another runner on base and a double would follow, with a third run scoring off a passed ball before the Lady Bison were retired to end the inning.
Now trailing 4-1 to start the sixth inning, the Lady Wolverines had some work to do. Liesel Schwartzkopf was put out to lead off, but Rachel Wirtz got on base off a pitcher’s error. Kenzie Grimm belted a double and a dropped fly ball in center field put Harrison Schmidt on based and allowed Wirtz to score her run.
An RBI single from Cassie Gearhart brought Grimm over the plate before a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Schmidt allowed Harrison Schmidt to plate the third run of the at-bat, but Gearhart would be left waiting when Lauren Thatcher flew out to second.
With the score tied up at 4-4, North Iowa would be retired in order in the bottom of the sixth to set up the decisive seventh inning.
West Bend-Mallard/Gil-more City-Bradgate led off the seventh with Kayla Banwart being put out at first. Courtney Bargmann got a single and was replaced on base by Sarah Mader as a pinch runner. Mader, who started the season as the first baseman before breaking an arm in a contest, worked her way to third base off a double by Rachel Wirtz after Liesel Schwartzkopf struck out. With two away and the potential game-winning run at third, Kenzie Grimm was put out to end the at-bat.
North Iowa came up to bat and led off with a base hit. A strikeout and an infield fly gave the Lady Bison two outs, A single would put runners on first and second before a walk loaded the bases. But a passed ball would let a run score before the final out was tallied.
Kenzie Grimm would take the loss in her seven innings of work, giving up five runs off nine hits wit hone walk and 10 strikeouts.
For the Lady Wolverines, Kenzie Grimm had a double and single, while Rachel Wirtz and Ashley Schmidt both added a double each. Cassie Gearhart had two hits, while Kayla Banwart and Courtney Bargmann both added singles.