T he Women of Troy used a month’s worth of momentum to earn a split in a June-July doubleheader Wednesday at City High.
West High won the second game 15-5 in seven innings. The game had been suspended because of bad weather back on June 6 … but not until after a 3-run home run by Taylor Libby had given West a 4-2 lead after three innings.
“I think it was very important we had the momentum coming into this,” West’s Jessie Harder said. “It gave us a little boost of confidence. I think we came out and executed very well.”
City High had won the opener 2-1 back on June 6, but on Wednesday, it was all about the big sticks of West High.
The Women of Troy had four hits in the top of the fourth inning when play resumed that led to four runs and made it 8-2. That included a two-run triple by Harder and an RBI double by Erin Kallsen.
“Our batters have been going up to the plate ready to hit the ball,” West coach Barb Lynn said. “We’ve been consistently aggressive at bat, getting hits.”
Neither team has surged much one way or the other since that meeting a month ago. With the win, West improves to 19-18 and 15-9 in the MVC. City High fell to 18-17 and 13-11.
“They are playing exceptional softball right now, and we sputtered there,” City coach Gary Fickel said. “I think you are seeing a dangerous team at West High right now.”
The two teams may meet for a third time in 10 days in a Class 5A regional semifinal if West High beats Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the first round.
“We’ll be ready for them, if we do,” City’s Sara Blowers said.
It was a tall task for the Little Hawks to take the field trailing 4-2.
“We just had to come into it thinking we could make a comeback; we’ve done it before,” Blowers said. “We knew we could do it again … we just didn’t play our best.”
After West High put up four runs in the top of the fourth inning, the Little Hawks were retired in order in the bottom half of the inning.
“We all kind of got into the wrong mindset,” Blowers said. “We were not on top of our game like we should have been.”
City added a run in the fifth inning when Peyton Koenig singled and courtesy runner Kesha Hyche scored on a West error. That made it 8-3.
But then the Women of Troy batted around and plated seven runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Adara Opiola hit the top of the fence in right field for a double, Andrea Borman had an RBI single, Michaela Recker had an RBI fielder’s choice, Libby had an RBI single.
And then Lauren Larson and Grace Tafolla each had a two-run single to cap the big inning.
City High showed a little bit of fight in the bottom of the inning, trailing 15-3. Blowers hit her first home run, a shot over the scoreboard in left field, and Brie Hightshoe had an RBI single to score Bryn Hanrahan, who reached on a hit.
“They had that four-run inning and it just put momentum on their side and they never looked back,” Fickel said. “This one wasn’t close. Its been an up-and-down season.”
Hanrahan hit 3-for-4 to pace the Little Hawks. Shelby Yoder hit 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
For West, Borman hit 4-for-4 with a double and 2 RBIs. Libby hit 3-for-5 and Kallsen, Tafolla, Opiola and Recker each had two hits as the Women of Troy piled up 17 hits.
Lynn has seen her team transform into solid hitters over the past month.
“We’ve gotten better discipline,” Lynn said. “When it’s a strike, we’re ready to hit. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our bats right now.”
Paige Powers and Michaela Recker; Erin Weno, Sasha Fraunholz (4) and Peyton Koenig. W – Powers. L – Weno. 2B – Erin Kallsen (W), Adara Opiola (W), Andrea Borman (W), Bryn Hanrahan (C), Ashley Duthie (C), Erin Weno (C). 3B – Jessie Harder (W). HR – Taylor Libby (W), Sara Blowers (C).