State softball: Ballard of Huxley beats Solon in 3-A final

State softball: Ballard of Huxley beats Solon in 3-A final

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State softball: Ballard of Huxley beats Solon in 3-A final

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Fort Dodge, Ia. — Kenzie Ihle unleashed her inner beast Friday.
The sophomore, who had hit two home runs all season, smashed three-run and solo homers to give Ballard of Huxley a 5-4 win over Solon in the Class 3-A state softball championship at Rogers Sports Complex.
She was called several things Friday: Game-winning pitcher, captain of the all-tournament team. But she’s never been labeled a slugger.
“I’m never thinking home run, I never know when I’m going to hit one,” Ihle said, “but when I do, it feels good.”
She hit a solo homer in the second inning, then delivered a clutch three-run round-tripper in the bottom of the sixth inning that gave her team the win.
Solon had taken a 4-2 lead in the top of the sixth. Rylee Smith hit a two-run double and Arran Weeces added a run-scoring single.
The game ended when Ballard’s Katie Ahrenholtz threw out a Solon runner at home plate for the final out.
Ballard (35-9) won the first state softball title in school history. The program last qualified for state in 1983.
Solon finished 37-7.
Ihle drove in four runs in the championship. Teammate Grace Hall, another all-tournament pick, also homered.
Hall hit a solo shot in the fourth inning. She said she swung at the first pitch.
“I said, ‘Oh, I’m going to jump on it this time,’ ” Hall said.
Ihle shared a similar aggressive approach on her three-run homer.
“It was right down the middle,” Ihle said. “You always have the feeling when it’s going to go over.”
Solon’s Smith, Weeces and Emily Bransky were all-tournament selections. They were joined by Bondurant-Farrar’s Keely Bycroft and Cailey Schlenker and East Marshall of LeGrand’s Alyssa Whitmore.
Ballard’s Annie Stolte and Sydney Fisher also earned all-tournament honors.
The team rallied to win all three tournament games. Ballard beat Mid-Prairie of Wellman in a quarterfinal 5-4, scoring all five runs in the final two innings.
Next was a 1-0 win over Bondurant-Farrar, the run coming in the bottom of the seventh.
Ballard’s motto was, “We never give up, we never back down, we never lose faith.”
As the players posed for a team photograph with their trophy, the fans chanted the phrase one more time.
Solon – 000 — 013 — 0–4-9-1
Ballard – 010 — 103 — x–5-7-4

Leading hitters–S: Smith 3×3, Musgrave 2×4; B: Ihle 2×4. W–Ihle. L–Weeces. HR–B: Ihle (2), Hall.

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State softball: Ballard of Huxley beats Solon in 3-A final
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