CARROLL — In Thursday night's varsity doubleheader here Thursday, the Creston softball team totaled 38 runs on 29 hits, dominating the Knights in a Hawkeye 10 Conference sweep.
Creston quickly rolled through Kuemper Catholic 17-1 in three innings in the opening game, and then notched a 21-5 victory in the nightcap to improve to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Hawkeye 10 Conference this season.
"We had a pretty good night offensively," head coach Mike McCabe said. "It just kind of got contagious, to be honest."
McCabe said his team struggled early in the first game adjusting to the speed of Kuemper pitcher Sara Langel, who was throwing slower than what Creston is used to.
"We really kind of struggled in the first game with the first pitcher, threw pretty slow," he said. "Probably, unfortunately for them, she got a little wild and walked some people. They brought another kid in and she threw harder, and was just about what we wanted. We got after her."
Creston scored three runs in the first inning on a three-run home run by Natalie Mostek, her fourth of the season. The Panthers added three more in the second inning on one hit and four Kuemper errors.
The big blow came in the third inning, when the Panthers pushed 11 runs across the plate.
Highlights of the 11-run third inning included a two-run double by Josie Sickels, a three-run home run by winning pitcher Haylee LaMasters and a grand slam home run by Taylor Briley.
LaMasters allowed just four hits in the win with one walk and one strikeout.
The hits just kept on coming in the nightcap, as Creston finished with 16 hits in the second game, including 13 hits from the top four spots in the order.
Mostek went 4-for-5 with five RBI in the nightcap, as LaMasters was 4-5 with two RBI. Josie Sickels finished 3-3 with one RBI and Briley was 2-3 with two RBI.
Briley picked up the win in the circle, pitching all five innings with one walk and two strike outs.
"Second game, came out and scored four runs right away and it was good to get the lead," McCabe said. "We wanted to give Taylor a little bit of support. We gave three runs right back to them in the bottom of the inning. But, we settled down behind her and started making some plays. She pitched a pretty good ballgame. I was pleased with her effort."
Briley also had a breakout night at the plate, going 5-7 with the grand slam, two doubles and six RBI combined between the two games.
"It was just going to be a matter of time," McCabe said. "She was probably about two and a half to three weeks behind, with the injuries and track. She's just too good of a player."
The Panthers got support from the bottom of the lineup, as well. Jami Sickels went 2-3 with two doubles and one RBI in the nightcap, while Alli Thomsen and Alyssa Higgins each drove in two runs.
"Jami Sickels is really hitting the ball well," McCabe said. "Right now, we're getting some people hitting in bunches here, so that's good to see."
Creston returns to action today with the home John Stephens Softball Classic.
The Panthers play Griswold at 11:45 a.m. and then play Ankeny at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Creston plays defending Class 3A state champion Bondurant-Farrar at 12:30 p.m. and Treynor at 4 p.m.
Thursday's Hawkeye 10 Conference softball scores: Lewis Central 2, Glenwood 0; Lewis Central 4, Glenwood 0; Creston 17, Kuemper Catholic 1; Creston 21, Kuemper Catholic 5; Atlantic 10, Shenandoah 0; Atlantic 5, Shenandoah 2; Harlan 12, Clarinda 0; Harlan 13, Clarinda 3; Red Oak 11, St. Albert 6; St. Albert 11, Red Oak 6; Charter Oak Ute 5, Denison-Schleswig 4.
Creston 17, Kuemper Catholic 1
R H E
Creston 33(11) — 17 13 0
Kuemper 000 — 1 4 9
Haylee LaMasters 1BB 1K and Natalie Mostek. Sara Langel 4BB 0K, Megan Wallace 0BB 0K and Ashley Sibenaller. W — Mostek. L— Langel. HR — Cr: LaMasters 1, Mostek 1, Taylor Briley 1. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: Josie Sickels 1. RBI — Cr: Briley 4, Josie Sickels 3, LaMasters 3, Mostek 3, Shelby Palser 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Briley 3, Josie Sickels 2, LaMasters 2, Palser 2, Jami Sickels 2.
Creston 21, Kuemper Catholic 5
R H E
Creston 473 25 — 21 16 1
Kuemper 300 00 — 5 7 4
Taylor Briley 1BB 2K and Natalie Mostek. Kalee Peter 4BB 2K, Megan Wallace (5) 3BB 0K, Sara Langel (5) 0BB 0K and Ashley Sibenaller. W — Briley. L— Loser. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: Briley 2, Jami Sickels 2, Haylee LaMasters 1, Mostek 1. RBI — Mostek 5, LaMasters 2, Briley 2, Alyssa Higgins 2, Alli Thomsen 2, Josie Sickels 1, Jami Sickels 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: LaMasters 4, Mostek 4, Josie Sickels 3, Briley 2, Jami Sickels 2. KC: Sibenaller 2, Peter 2.