State softball: Des Moines East advances to 5-A title game

State softball: Des Moines East advances to 5-A title game

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State softball: Des Moines East advances to 5-A title game

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Fort Dodge, Ia. — There’s a new number on trophy, but Des Moines East is going to the same game.
The defending state champion Scarlets beat No. 5 Pleasant Valley 6-5 on Thursday night to advance to Iowa’s first ever 5-A state championship game.
Coming back from 5-0 down, East (33-5) showed some of the grit that made them 4-A titleholders in 2011.
“I can’t be any prouder of any team that I’ve coached than I am of this team,” East coach Bob Ligouri said. “This team showed as much fight as any team we’ve had at East.”
With an upset brewing on the scoreboard, a four-run third inning brought the East fans back to life.
Two more runs in the fourth inning, including the go-ahead RBI from senior Allison Fitzgerald, helped the senior-laden group take control of the semifinal.
“As long as we can keep our confidence and momentum, that’s what it’s all about,” Ligouri said.
Pleasant Valley (33-7) jumped out to the 5-0 lead in the third inning with East struggling to keep up defensively with the young Spartan bats.
East pitcher Riley Fisher gave up seven hits in the first three frames.
“We don’t put any pressure on ourselves and we just know we need to get it done,” said East catcher Meredith Henriksen, who threw two Spartan runners out at second base. “We want it and nothing was going to put us away from that.”
Those throw-outs by the Indiana State-bound Henriksen and aggressive base running changed the attitude of a game that was no longer hanging in the balance.
“They play risky ball and you’ve got to respect them because that’s the edge that they get,” said Pleasant Valley coach Lori Duncan.
Duncan wasn’t sure why the momentum shifted so hard on her group.
“Our plan was to jump on them early, putting pressure on their pitcher and giving our pitchers confidence,” the fifth-year coach said. “This was uncharacteristic of our pitchers.”
The defending champions will go into the title game as underdogs to a No. 1 Ankeny team that beat them 4-1 on June 19.
The 5-A championship is at 7 p.m. Friday night.
BOX SCORE
Pleasant Valley…041 000 0–5 10 3
D.M. East………..004 200 x–6 6 3
Hitting leaders–PV: Duwa 2×3, Dwyer 2×4, Zaruba 2×3, Meyer 2×4; E: Brown 2×3, Custard 2×3. W–Fisher. L–Spelhaug.

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State softball: Des Moines East advances to 5-A title game
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