DALLAS CENTER — Two state-rated softball teams that finished second in the 2012 state tournament defeated Creston here Saturday in the Dallas Center-Grimes Classic, but they were vastly different games.
They were also played on fields facing the opposite direction, which came into play on a day when westerly wind gusts exceeded 35 mph.
With batters having the benefit of the wind blowing balls out of the park, Class 1A seventh-ranked Earlham knocked out two solo homers in a 3-2 victory. One, a liner by Taelor Williamson, was pushed to the top of the left field fence, where it skipped over for a solo homer in the fifth inning to tie the game, 2-2.
Then Earlham pitcher Abbey Murphy pulled one over the right field fence in the sixth for the final 3-2 margin.
“Would have been a good game for us to get it up in the wind but we didn’t,” said Creston coach Mike McCabe. “It was a good game. Both pitchers threw well.”
Haylee LaMasters took the loss despite a stellar performance, yielding just two earned runs on five hits with six strikeouts and only two walks. Murphy, likewise, allowed just five hits including two by Panther catcher Natalie Mostek. Josie Sickels hit a double for Creston.
The Class 1A runner-up from a year ago, Earlham ended the day at 24-6 after a split, falling to Indianola by the same 3-2 score.
With Creston vs. Dallas Center-Grimes a possible regional semifinal matchup, neither coach showed his top pitcher in the classic finale Friday afternoon. Missouri recruit Paige Lowary didn’t pitch in the 10-0 victory over Urbandale, either, with a key conference matchup looming tonight against Carlisle.
Her eighth-grade sister, Rachel, hurled the shutout victory against Urbandale. No. 3 pitcher Emily Ellerman drew the assignment against Creston, which countered with varsity backups Brenna Baker for two innings and Taylor Briley for one.
The first inning proved to be misleading, with Creston taking a 1-0 lead on Mackenzie Andreasen’s bases-loaded walk after the Fillies left a runner on third base in a scoreless first against Baker.
But DC-G (29-4) scored nine runs in the second and 13 runs in a 68-minute third inning to complete the 22-1 rout.
In the second inning, the Fillies sent 13 batters to the plate with eight hits, including two wind-blown drives that fooled Panther fielders. Balls appearing to be shots to the outfield were blown back into the infield area, or into foul territory.
The third was a nightmare for Briley, as would-be outs weren’t caught, two errors were committed in addition to nine hits, three walks, a hit batter and 13 runs. There were 12 batters before Creston recorded an out. Briley delivered 75 pitches in the inning.
It wasn’t just starters that were hot at the plate for the Fillies. Pinch-hitters and substitutes had nine hits and scored seven runs in the inning.
“I hate putting any kids through that, but it is one of those situations,” McCabe said. “We left some outs out there. You’re sitting on your heels, waiting (for strikes) defensively. They were hitting it hard, too. They are pretty solid, there’s no doubt about that.”
Creston’s only hits were by Briley and LaMasters, who played third and shortstop during the game.
Creston, now 17-10, plays at Glenwood today before hosting Red Oak in a makeup game Tuesday afternoon, and hitting the road again Wednesday for a varsity doubleheader at Lewis Central.
Earlham 3, Creston 2
R H E
Creston 101 000 0 — 2 5 3
Earlham 000 111 0 — 3 5 2
Cr: Haylee LaMasters 6K 2BB and Natalie Mostek. E: Abbey Murphy 7K 3BB and Bri Arnburg. W — Murphy. L— LaMasters. HR — E: Murphy, Taelor Williamson. 2B — Cr: Josie Sickels. RBI — Cr: Mostek 1; E: Murphy 1, Arnburg 1, Williamson 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Mostek 2.
Dallas Center-Grimes 22, Creston 1
R H E
DC-Grimes 09(13) — 22 18 1
Creston 100 — 1 2 3
DC: Emily Ellerman 4K 4BB 1 HBP and Paige Shanno. Cr: Brenna Baker 1K 2BB, Taylor Briley (3) 1K 3BB 1 HBP and Natalie Mostek. W — Ellerman. L— Baker. 3B — DC: Brooke Kramer. 2B — DC: Madison Carpenter, Lexi Rosa, Rachel Lowary. RBI — DC: Rosa 4, Jackie Peyton 3, Kramer 3, Dani Heritage 2, R. Lowary 2, Carpenter 2, Jenna Humke 1, Janae Hannemann 1, Allison O’Brien 1, Alexis Clouse 1, Paige Shanno 1, Taylor Draisey 1; Cr: Mackenzie Andreasen 1. Multiple hitters — DC: Kramer 3, Peyton 2, Lowary 2, O’Brien 2.