FORT DODGE —
Not enough key hits.
That’s how Ottumwa softball coach Frank Huston summed up his team’s 5-0 defeat to Iowa City West Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Iowa Softball Class 5A State Tournament.
With the loss, the Bulldogs (34-9) will take on Marshalltown in a consolation round game today at noon at Dodger Diamond. If they win they will play for fifth place at 4 p.m. on Diamond 1. If Ottumwa loses, it will play for seventh place at 4 p.m. on the Veteran’s Diamond.
Huston said he hopes a lot of players will see time on the field so they can experience what it’s like to play in state competition.
In the quarterfinal game on Tuesday, the Bulldogs spread out five hits across seven innings against The Women of Troy’s ace pitcher Mackenzie Laux. When Bulldogs got runners on base, however, they just couldn’t come up with the big hit they needed to drive in some runs.
Iowa City West jumped out to 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a mixture of singles and Bulldog errors. Shelly Stumpff rapped a line drive single up the middle, which allowed the Women of Troy’s speedy leadoff hitter Tatum Klein to score from second. Then Lauren Larson slapped a grounder that Bulldog third baseman Sydney Strunk fielded and fired to first. Unfortunately the throw was low and Ottumwa first baseman Nicole Peyton couldn’t dig it out of the dirt. Meanwhile, Erin Kallsen, who was pinch-running for Stumpff, scored from second to give Iowa City West a 2-0 advantage.
Peyton, who has been swinging a hot bat since she was moved to the fifth spot in the batting order at the start of postseason, poked a line drive single to right field to start the top of the second. The Bulldogs, however, couldn’t muster any more offense as Laux retired the next three batters.
The top of third was practically a carbon copy of the previous inning for the Bulldogs. This time it was Sammy Garrett who singled to right field with one out. But once again, The Bulldogs left a runner stranded.
The Women of Troy put two more runs on the board in the top of the third. Iowa City West’s Morgan Ryan laced a pitch to right field, scoring Jaylinn Tresslar. Then Miller decided to make a beeline for home plate as well and it looked like Ottumwa had a good chance of getting her out, but Chelsea Griffith’s throw home was too wide to the right.
Iowa City West tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth to go up 5-0.
Although Laux wasn’t blowing Bulldog hitters away by any means, she did manage to coax Ottumwa’s batters into hitting a lot of shallow fly balls and harmless grounders.
“She has a screwball and it’s kind of hard to get out on,” Ottumwa catcher Beth Overturf said.
“She had a good screwball and she moved the ball around,” Sydney Strunk added.
Garrett seemed to be the only Bulldog hitter who had Laux’s number. She finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
Ottumwa pitcher Mandi Moore pitched a pretty solid game. Of the five runs she gave up, only three were earned. The Women of Troy were just able to maximize their scoring opportunities by getting clutch hits and taking full advantage of Ottumwa’s errors.
It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, but it doesn’t take away from what has been a tremendous season.
“Our goal number one was to make here and we accomplished that,” Huston said after the game. “Our second goal was to get to the final four and to win a state championship. When those are your goals and you lose out on that opportunity ... words are pretty shallow to them right now. They are very heartbroken. But they will come and play [today]. There’s a lot out pride in this team.”
Iowa City West 5, Ottumwa 0
Ott 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
West 202 100 0 — 5 9 0
Ottumwa battery – Mandi Moore (L, 19-6) (6IP, 8H, 5R, 3ER, 0K, 3BB), Beth Overturf
Hits - Sammy Garrett 2-for-3, Paige Schreiner 1-for-3, Nicole Peyton 1-for-3, Olivia Roark 1-for-3
Iowa City West – Mackenzie Laux (W, 19-4) (7IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 4K, 1BB), Michaela Recker catching.
Hits - Tatum Klein 1-for-3, Brianna Sturtz 1-for-3, Shelly Stumpff 1-for-3, Recker 2-for-2, Madi Miller 2-for-3, Morgan Ryan 2-for-3.
RBI – Stumpff, Ryan, Sturtz. Runs – Tatum Klein, Erin Kallsen, Jaylinn Tresslar, Miller, Kailey Klein.
FORT DODGE —
Not enough key hits.
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