CEDAR RAPIDS — The Creston softball team, which entered the Class 4A state rankings on Friday at No. 15, dropped both of its games here Saturday at the Cedar Rapids Jefferson Tournament.
The Panthers lost a 2-0 contest to Sioux City Bishop Heelan and followed with a 13-5 loss to Dubuque Hempstead.
Creston head coach Mike McCabe said the 2-0 loss to Heelan was especially painful, considering Panther pitcher Haylee LaMasters pitched a one-hitter.
"Really, probably a game we should have won," McCabe said. "By all rights, we kept finding ways to sabotage ourselves. They had two runs on one hit and we committed two errors."
Heelan leadoff batter Kelsey Watterson started the game with the lone Crusader hit, poking one through the hole between third base and shortstop. After one out, an infield error put runners on first and third.
Jaylee Lester then dropped down a safety squeeze bunt that brought Watterson home to score.
"I thought we made a pretty good play," McCabe said. "We checked the runners — Lexie (Little) did before she threw — and Alli (Thomsen) relayed it home. I thought we had her at home, but they called her safe."
The score stayed 1-0 until the fifth inning, when a pair of walks and another infield error led to Heelan's second run of the game.
In total, LaMasters walked four and struck out three, giving up just the one hit.
LaMasters also stroked a pair of doubles for the Panthers in the game, both of which would have been home runs on a smaller, regulation field, McCabe said.
"The two balls hit off the right field fence about 215 feet away," McCabe said. "They were only doubles."
But the Panthers were unable to push LaMasters home on either occasion. Offensively, Creston finished with just four hits against Heelan pitcher Lexi Ricke.
Creston held a 5-4 lead over Dubuque Hempstead going into the sixth inning, but Hempstead struck for seven runs in the sixth to pull away to the 13-5 victory.
Taylor Briley started the game for the Panthers, pitching 5 2/3 innings with three walks and one strikeout.
After giving up three runs in the top of the first inning, the Panthers battled back with two in the first and two in the second to take a lead. Natalie Mostek and Briley each had RBI hits, as Creston built the 4-3 lead.
Briley finished the game 2-for-4 for the Panthers. Hannah Fogle and Brenna Baker also recorded RBI hits in the game.
Still, despite the losses, McCabe said he felt it was a good trip for his team, which had an opportunity to have some fun and bond together.
"It was a good weekend," he said. "Friday might have been more important than Saturday. The kids had a good time, got away a little bit. They enjoyed that.
"Saturday, we had our chances in that first game. You look at the linescore there, Haylee certainly pitched well enough to win the game. Second game, we came back and took a lead. They had that one inning, and then we decided to get some other kids in. Not going to make too much of that. We'll kind of regroup and recharge for this final week of the conference season."
Creston, now 16-9 overall, has today off before finishing the stretch run in the Hawkeye 10 Conference.
The Panthers travel to Red Oak Tuesday for junior varsity and varsity action. Wednesday, the Panthers play host to Clarinda, as the two teams will complete their game from earlier this season that was suspended in the top of the fourth inning with Creston leading 2-1. That game will begin at 11 a.m.
Thursday, the Panthers travel to Atlantic for a varsity doubleheader.
Plans to make up the second game of the Council Bluffs St. Albert doubleheader have not been finalized as of yet, but that game will likely be made up either Saturday, July 5 or Monday, July 7 in the early afternoon.
Denison-Schleswig and Harlan both have three conference losses, as well, while Glenwood has four conference losses.
Sioux City Bishop Heelan 2, Creston 0
R H E
Heelan 100 010 0 — 2 1 0
Creston 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
H: Lexi Ricke 1BB 3K and Jaylee Lester. Cr: Haylee LaMasters 4BB 3K and Natalie Mostek. W — Ricke. L— LaMasters. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — Cr: LaMasters 2. RBI — H: Lester 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: LaMasters 2.
Dubuque Hempstead 13, Creston 5
R H E
Hempstead 300 037 0 — 13 15 1
Creston 220 001 0 — 5 6 3
H: Danielle Gorman 1BB 0K, Moragan Krug (3) 5BB 1K and Courtney Ryder. Cr: Taylor Briley 3BB 1K, Haylee LaMasters (6) 0BB 1K and Natalie Mostek. W — Krug. L— Briley. HR — none. 3B — none. 2B — H: Lexey Hanson 2, Krug 1, Sarah Lauer 1. Cr: Briley 1. RBI — H: Hope Koerperich 2, Hanson 2, Krug 2, Lauer 2, Brie Tauber 1, Gorman 1. Cr: Hannah Fogle 1, Briley 1, Mostek 1, Brenna Baker 1. Multiple hitters — H: Tauber 4, Koerperich 3, Hanson 3, Krug 2. Cr: Briley 2.