When Southeast Polk pitcher Hannah Parker throws strikes, catcher Brooke French pushes the pace.
Parker threw a three-hitter and struck out 12 to lead the No. 4-ranked Rams to a 6-1 win at East Tuesday in a CIML softball game.
French and Parker are seniors who have been battery mates since they were 8 years old. A decade of teamwork has taught them to push the pedal when the strikeouts are coming.
“When we start working well, we start working fast,” French said. “I don’t slow down.”
Parker struck out seven consecutive batters during a span between the first and third innings. She also struck out the side in the sixth inning.
Before each pitch, she picks up a handful of dirt to dry her sweaty pitching hand. If the ground is wet, she uses a rosin bag.
French has learned what pitches to call.
“I read her mind,” French said.
Southeast Polk (20-7) aims to end the season at the state tournament before Parker heads to Western Kentucky and French goes to Wayne State.
“We want to finish it all the way,” Parker said.
Parker hit a run-scoring double and singled in the game. The Rams scored two unearned runs early before a three-run fifth inning. Grace Metts, Shelby Uhl and Parker all doubled in the frame.
Southeast Polk pounded 10 hits. The team’s had a positive attitude that’s helped bring success.
“When the kids go out and play with the right mindset, they’re doing a good job,” Southeast Polk coach Tia Stiles said.
The Rams are one of six teams in Class 5-A to hit the 20-win mark so far in June.
“Starting strong is important,” Parker said. “It sets the tone for the season.”
East scored its run in the fifth inning. Cheyenne Lindsey singled and later scored on a fielder’s choice.
The Scarlets are 7-18.
“We’ve had some pitching injuries, and our season has been up and down,” East coach Thana Heller said. “We’re improving. I can’t complain. Our kids are working hard.
“We’re working toward the end of the season,” she added.
Southeast Polk and East will meet in a 5-A regional tournament semifinal July 12.
Southeast Polk — 011 030 1–6 10 1
East — 000 010 0 –1 3 4