The Creston Panther softball team wasted no time securing a Hawkeye 10 conference victory over the Red Oak Tigers here Monday, 10-0.
“I liked the way we came out and took care of business,” Panther head coach Mike McCabe said. “We’ve had a pertinacity in the past not to do that and find ourselves in a little closer game than we need to or not playing very well.”
Josie Sickles started the game with a single up the middle. Taylor Briley picked her up with a smash to centerfield, giving the Panthers a quick 1-0 lead.
Pitcher Haylee LaMasters continued the hitting streak with a single to put runners on the corners. Both Briley and LaMasters would come in to score before the end of the first inning, building the Panther lead to 3-0.
“We’ve been hitting the ball well lately,” McCabe said. “I hope that it will continue. We’ve been patient and working to get pitches to hit.”
LaMasters stayed hot at the plate the remainder of the contest, going 3-for-3 with a double in the second inning and a triple in the third. She picked up three RBI for the night.
From the circle, she fanned six Tiger batters, gave up no walks and only allowed three hits.
Sickles also finished 3-for-3 with an RBI. Fellow sophomore Shelby Palser went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Red Oak showed some life in the second inning after Sarah Behrens found a hole in the infield for a single. She was gunned down at third trying to pick up an extra base during a bunt attempted by Sydney Streicher.
LaMasters struck out two batters to end the threat.
A five-run second inning for the Panthers padded their lead to 8-0.
Alyssa Higgins and Sickels scored the two runs in the third inning to give Creston (9-6 overall, 6-3 in Hawkeye 10 play) enough runs to enforce the mercy rule in the fifth inning.
The Panthers bounce back with another conference home game tonight against Glenwood. Creston stole a 5-1 victory over the Rams earlier this season on the road.
JV is slated for a 5:30 p.m. start, followed by the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Cancer survivor Di Miller will throw out the first pitch of the varsity game as part of an ongoing partnership between the Creston baseball and softball teams to raise awareness for Relay for Life.
“It’s a great cause with the Relay for Life on Friday,” McCabe said. “It gives us a chance to recognize some survivors and honor some loved ones who, unfortunately, died because of their battle with cancer.”
Luminaries will be sold at the game to raise funds for life-saving cancer research and patient services.
The Creston junior varsity team improved to 5-2 for the season with a 14-2 romp of Red Oak on Monday.
The Panthers took advantage of nine walks issued by Red Oak pitchers.
Lexie Little, Cammy Rutherford, Hannah Fogle and Morgan Shawler each recorded a hit for the Panthers. Shawler and Chloe Hagle each drove in one run.
Josie Sickels picked up the win in the pitching circle, issuing five walks and striking out seven.
Creston 10, Red Oak 0
R H E
Red Oak 000 00 — 0 3 2
Creston 352 0X — 10 13 0
RO: Sarah Behrens 2BB 0K and Tannah Halvin. C: Haylee LaMasters 0BB 6K and Natalie Mostek. W — LaMasters. L— Behrens. HR — none. 3B — C: LaMasters. 2B — C: LaMasters, Taylor Briley. RBI — C: LaMasters 3, Briley 2, Shelby Palser 2, Josie Sickels 1, Mostek 1. Multiple hitters — C: LaMasters 3, Josie Sickels 3, Palser 2, Jami Sickels 2.