FORT DODGE, Ia. – The champions are alive and well in Class 4-A.
Two-time defending state champion Dallas Center-Grimes broke open a 1-1 game with seven runs in the third on its way to a 9-3 win over Pella (22-14) in the semifinals of the 4-A state tournament at Rogers Sports Complex.
Ninth-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes (28-13) will go for its third straight 4A title when it faces third-ranked Winterset (32-11) in Friday’s 2:30 p.m. championship game.
“A lot of people didn’t think we’d have the opportunity to get back this year with all the really good seniors that we graduated last year,” Dallas Center-Grimes coach Steve Schlafke said. “We knew that we were still going to have a shot to come back with the kids that were returning and here we are.”
Sophomore Rachel Lowary doubled twice and picked up the win in the circle as the Fillies returned to the 4-A title game for the fourth straight season.
Lowary allowed one earned run on seven hits and struck out six as she improved to 15-3.
“I want to do the things that the team did last year,” Lowary said. “I want to do the exact same thing as the past two years so I’m really excited to be in that game. It’s one step closer to our goal.”
Dallas Center-Grimes sent 11 batters to the plate and took advantage of three Pella errors in the seven-run third that snapped a 1-1 tie.
Eight straight Dallas Center-Grimes’ batters reached base with one out in the inning as the Fillies took an 8-1 lead.
Senior Janae Hannemann had a two-run single and Lowary drove in two runs with a double in the inning.
The win was the second in three games against Little Hawkeye Conference rival Pella, who won the final regular season meeting 10-8.
“We played them two times in the regular season and she pitched both games so I think we just saw the ball a lot better,” Lowary said. “We were a lot more focused tonight.”
Dallas Center-Grimes…017 010 0—9 8 3
Pella…101 010 0—3 7 7
Leading hitters – DCG: Rachel Lowary 2×4, Janae Hannemann 2×3; P: Alexa Dingeman 2×3, Elyse Sadler 2×3. 2B – DCG: Rachel Lowary (2). W – Rachel Lowary. L – Elyse Sadler