Predictions were pointless.
The second-ranked Valley softball team fell 3-1 in the first game of a doubleheader Monday at Dowling.
The nightcap looked more like a football score — an 18-10 triumph over the No. 6 and defending state champion Maroons.
On a wild night between West Des Moines rivals, the only consistency was, well, inconsistency.
“That’s the way the game is played,” said Valley third baseman Megan Rushing, who scored four runs in the second game. “Anything can happen.”
Two great programs have tremendous talent and are polishing their games, too.
Dowling pitcher Claudia Farrell shut down the Tigers with a three-hitter in the first game. The senior struck out 12 batters.
Valley’s only run came on a solo homer by Brooke O’Hollearn in the seventh.
BASEBALL: Maroons, Tigers evenly matched at Principal Park, too
The second game, by contrast, found Dowling making six errors in a three-inning span.
Valley scored at least two runs in all but the first frame.
Dowling, which had an infield of three freshmen and an eighth-grader, is gaining experience against some of the state’s top competition.
“Every mistake I make, I learn from that,” said Dowling third baseman Julia Bastian, a freshman. “Every time, I go back and I try to fix that and move on.”
The Maroons pounded 13 hits and scored 10 runs in the second game but were unable to come away with the victory.
“Inexperience is inexperience, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse,” Dowling coach Matt Murillo said.
Bastian’s two-run single in the sixth inning of the opening game gave her team the split. It was the first loss of the season for Valley.
The Tigers (8-1) are seeking to improve every night, too.
“We have a very good offensive game,” Valley coach Tom Bakey said. “We’re working through some things with our pitching and fielding, and I’m sure that will come along.”
Valley’s Anna Gernant hit a two-run homer in the second game and drove in three runs. Farrell drove in three runs for Dowling (4-2), and Sierra Walton hit a two-run homer.
Both teams bring a positive attitude that a loss can’t defeat.
“We have our teammates building us up,” Bastian said.
Valley – 000,000,1—1,3,1
Dowling – 000,003,x—3,6,0
W—Farrell. L—Feldt. HR—V: O’Hollearn.
Valley – 033,424,2—18,11,1
Dowling – 220,320,1—10,13,6
W—Bakey. L–Albaugh. HR—D: S.Walton, V: Gernant.