DENISON — The Creston softball team picked up a key Hawkeye 10 Conference doubleheader split here Tuesday against Denison-Schleswig.
The Panthers took game one from the Lady Monarchs, 6-3, before dropping the second game, 3-0.
With the split, Creston now sits at 14-6 overall and 7-1 in Hawkeye 10 Conference play.
“Anytime you go on the road against one of the contending teams in the conference, my goal is to come away with the split,” Creston head coach Mike McCabe said. “It goes a long way. This happens to be the year all of our doubleheaders against the contenders are on the road, so we’re going to have to earn it.”
Creston nearly missed a big opportunity to score a run in the first inning, with a runner on third when Haylee LaMasters lined out to right, as the runner did not tag up to score.
That left the Panthers with a runner on third and two outs in the inning, but Natalie Mostek bailed the Panthers out with a two-run home run to put the Panthers on the board.
Creston added one each in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-1 lead. Mostek drove in her third run of the game in the fifth inning.
Mackenzie Andreasen and Shelby Palser each drove in one run in the top of the seventh inning to put Creston up 6-1, and the Panthers held on despite giving up two runs in the bottom half of the inning.
LaMasters struck out eight in the win, walking four and giving up four hits.
“Real pleased. Obviously, kind of nice to get the lead game,” McCabe said. “I thought Haylee pitched really well against an awfully good hitting team. She had struck out six of their first eight batters. Ended up getting a little bit tired, and even more so in the second game, but did a nice job. We felt real fortunate about picking one off there in that first game.”
Creston took advantage of five Denison-Schleswig errors in the first game.
Mostek finished 3-for-4 in the game, while Taylor Briley went 2-3.
The Panthers, however, struggled in the second game against a different Denison-Schleswig pitcher.
Paige Lansink held the Panthers to just two hits and struck out four in the nightcap of the doubleheader, keeping the Panthers off the scoreboard.
“She’s kind of a down ball pitcher,” McCabe said. “We ended up grounding out a lot, which obviously, she’s trying to get off that drop ball. We had a couple of chances. Had a first and second and a second and third, both in two-out situations. Didn’t get that big hit.”
The Lady Monarchs scored one in the bottom of the first inning and then added two more in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Andreasen and eighth-grader Hannah Hood recorded the only two hits of the game for the Panthers.
“We played pretty well, defensively,” McCabe said. “Made a couple of nice plays. It was good to get in some situations and be able to handle those. That will go a long way in helping us down the road.”
Creston now takes a break from conference play, traveling to Cedar Rapids for the Cedar Rapids Jefferson Tournament on Saturday.
The Panthers open up against a Class 5A 10th-rated Dubuque Hempstead team. After a game off, Creston will take on Springville.
“It’ll be a good time for us as far as having time together,” McCabe said. “We have a big stretch when we get back home as far as finishing the conference season goes.”
In other Hawkeye 10 Conference action, Harlan split its doubleheader with Glenwood. Glenwood took the first game 2-0 and Harlan won the second game 5-0.
That puts Harlan at 13-3 overall and 10-1 in Hawkeye 10 Conference play. Lewis Central sits third in the conference, behind Harlan and Creston at 17-7 overall and 9-2 in the conference.
Creston 6, Denison-Schleswig 3
R H E
Creston 200 110 2 — 6 8 1
Denison 000 100 2 — 3 4 5
Haylee LaMasters 8K 4BB and Natalie Mostek. Shelby Pieper 1K 1BB and Josie McMinemee. W — LaMasters. L— Pieper. HR — Cr: Mostek 1. 3B — none. 2B — none. RBI — Cr: Mostek 3, Mackenzie Andreasen 1, Shelby Palser 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Mostek 3, Taylor Briley 2.
Denison-Schleswig 3, Creston 0
R H E
Creston 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Denison 100 020 0 — 3 7 2
Haylee LaMasters 4K 2BB and Natalie Mostek. Paige Lansink 4K 2BB and JosieMcMinemee. W — Lansink. L— LaMasters. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B —none. RBI — none. Multiple hitters — none.