A week off seemed to energize the Southwestern softball team, which supplanted Marshalltown for third place in the conference Tuesday in a doubleheader sweep of the visiting Tigers.
Overcoming an off-the-field ankle injury to leading pitcher Leah Kipfer, sophomore Courtney Wagner rose to the occasion by hurling both victories, allowing only one run in the process.
Wagner scattered seven hits with eight strikeouts in the opening-game shutout, and held the Tigers in check except for a third-inning run in the exciting 2-1 win. In that game, Wagner fanned five, walked three and allowed only three hits.
Southwestern won the nightcap with a run in the sixth inning, as Ashley Strong’s base hit knocked in Hannah Sneed.
Coach Lindsay Stumpff said Wagner took on the challenge of a key conference doubleheader.
“This was big for us,” Stumpff said. “Courtney Wagner did a phenomenal job in pitching both games. She had been struggling. This is a good momentum change for her. She knew it was her today.”
Wagner had plenty of offensive support in the opener. Third baseman Danyielle Barger clubbed a two-run homer in the first. Sneed also homered.
Sneed was 3-for-3 in the first game with a triple, home run and three RBI. Dominique Tolle doubled in the second game. Former Creston player Carla Smith, playing first base with Kipfer out, went 3-5 for the day.
Jacklyn Bear of East Union is a sophomore infielder on the Marshalltown team.
With rain in today’s forecast, Stumpff was unsure if Wagner would have to pull double duty again in league play against Iowa Central in Fort Dodge. If those games are rained out, they will be made up Tuesday instead of traveling to Division I Southeastern.
Meanwhile, a busy weekend looms with road trips to Marshalltown Friday, NIACC Saturday in Mason City and Ellsworth Sunday in Iowa Falls. Kipfer’s outlook isn’t good for the immediate future after suffering the injury playing basketball after Monday’s games at Grand View were cancelled.
“It’s a high ankle sprain,” Stumpff said. “They said she can probably start walking on it in a couple days.”