Offensively, Creston head softball coach Mike McCabe couldn’t have asked for a much better start during Friday’s 6-2 senior night win over Shenandoah.
After starting pitcher Haylee LaMasters got the Fillies to go three up, three down in the top of the first, Josie Sickels led off the bottom half of the frame with a triple to deep center field.
After Taylor Briley grounded out, LaMasters blooped a single back up the middle, sending Sickels home, giving the Panthers an early 1-0 lead.
“We had some timely hits, probably starting with Josie leading off the game with a triple,” McCabe said. “It’s always nice to get a run on the board early. She came back and led off the third inning, as well, and got on and ignited the four-run burst we got there.”
This time it was a leadoff single for the freshman center fielder, and after a Briley single and LaMasters reaching on a fielder’s choice, Sickels scored on a Natalie Mostek single to left field, breaking a 1-1 tie.
Mackenzie Andreasen, the lone senior on the Panther roster, followed with an RBI grounder, reaching on a fielder’s choice. Shelby Palser then hit a single into center field to load the bases.
Jami Sickels lofted a pop up high into the air for an infield fly rule out, but the ball was dropped, allowing Mostek to scamper home. Brenna Baker then beat out an infield single, driving in Andreasen.
“A good team effort there,” McCabe said. “A good win after a tough second game over at Lewis Central. I thought Haylee pitched pretty darn well. I thought she hit the glove and commanded the strike zone, and had good control tonight. It was good to see.”
LaMasters finished the game with 11 strikeouts and just one walk, giving up two runs on five hits.
Briley capped off the scoring with an RBI triple to deep center field scoring Nicole Haley in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Panthers improved to 19-13 for the season and 11-5 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference. Shenandoah dropped to 12-16 overall and 3-15 in the conference.
McCabe said the game was dedicated to Andreasen, the team’s only senior, who had just days earlier found out her mother was free of cancer after undergoing surgery.
“I’m very proud of her, first of all, that she’s a senior and stuck with it and came out,” McCabe said. “I’m proud that she’s having the kind of year she is. I’m tickled for her. She’s having a great season for us.
“We dedicated the game to her and her family and gave her the game ball after we all signed it,” McCabe said. “It’s been a tough stretch for her and her family. Stuff that maybe a normal 17, 18-year-old kid shouldn’t have to deal with. She’s been a good leader, been here every day, and I’m just happy that she’s enjoying her senior season.”
The Panthers return to action today with a varsity doubleheader at Harlan to close out the Hawkeye 10 Conference season. Creston then hosts Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday in the regular season finale before hosting Carroll Thursday in the regional opener.
The Creston JV team improved to 9-5 for the season with a 4-2 win over Shenandoah on Friday.
Brenna Baker, Josie Sickels and Taylor Briley all split the pitching duties, combining for five strikeouts with one walk.
Jami Sickels went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored. Hannah Hood was 1-2 with an RBI and a double. Briley also drove in a run.
“We got a couple of timely hits and a sacrifice fly and took advantage of an error to get enough runs for the win,” Creston JV coach Teri Keeler said. “Again, our pitchers pitched well.”
The final JV game of the season for the Panthers is Friday against Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln.
Creston 6, Shenandoah 2
R H E
Shenandoah 001 000 1 — 2 5 2
Creston 104 001 x — 6 11 0
Jordan Major 1K 0BB and Elizabeth Wilson. Haylee LaMasters 11K 1BB and Natalie Mostek. W — LaMasters. L— Major. HR — none. 3B — Cr: Josie Sickels 1, Taylor Briley 1. 2B — none. RBI — S: Wilson 1. Cr: Briley 1, LaMasters 1, Mostek 1, Mackenzie Andreasen 1, Jami Sickels 1, Brenna Baker 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Josie Sickels 2, Briley 2, Shelby Palser 2.