Charles City pushed a run across the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, defeating West Delaware, 6-5, in the third-place game of the Class 4A State Softball Tournament at Fort Dodge July 26.
It was the second one-run loss by the Hawks, who dropped a 7-6 eight-inning contest to eventual state champion Carlisle two days earlier.
Charles City scored first on a solo home run by Rachel Chambers with two outs in the bottom of the first.
The Hawks responded with four runs in the top of the second. Heather Heims struck out but reached first on a passed ball to start the inning. After Eva Winn reached base, Claire Demmer’s single scored Heims and Winn for a 2-1 Hawk lead. A single by JoAnna Voss put runners on the corners. A ground out by Tehya Demmer scored Claire Demmer before Leah Wegmann’s safety squeeze scored Voss for the 4-1 Hawk lead.
Charles City responded with a run in the bottom of the second when Allie Cross scored on a dropped fly ball to the infield with the bases loaded.
West Delaware added a run in the fifth. Ella Koloc singled to start the inning, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.
Charles City scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Hawk lead to 5-4. With runners on second and third and one out, a sacrifice fly by Sami Heyer scored two runs. With two outs, Sadie Gebel and Lisabeth Fiser each singled. But Hawk pitcher Emily Klostermann stranded the Comet runners with a strikeout to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, Chambers drew a walk for the Comets and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cross, tying the score and sending the game to extra innings.
The international tie-breaker was used in this game, so West Delaware started the eighth with Heims on second base. Winn’s bunt moved Heims to third and a walk to Claire Demmer followed by a stolen base put Hawk runners on second and third. But a strikeout and a ground out to second ended the inning.
Charles City began the inning with Alex Litterer on second. A single by Kiki Connell put runners on the corners. An intentional walk to Heyer loaded the bases with no outs. Litterer scored on a wild pitch, giving the Comets the 6-5 win.
Klosterman threw six innings for the Hawks, allowing six hits and five runs, only two of which were earned. Macey Kleitsch relieved Klostermann in the seventh, allowing one hit and one run.
West Delaware had five hits, with Wedewer going 2-for-4 and Koloc, Claire Demmer and Voss each having a hit. West Delaware stranded seven base runners.
Coach Tiffany Rave said she was pleased how her team responded following the tough loss in the semifinal game. “That was emotional, no doubt about it. But we looked at the big picture and realized there were only four teams in our class playing today and we were one of them. Even though we didn’t come out on the side we would have hoped for today, we still played competitive and aggressive softball and played to that last pitch. When it comes down to that, I can’t ask for anything better.”
Rave commented on the importance of playing in Fort Dodge all week with a roster that returns several players next season. “In our huddle after the game, we talked about our four seniors and how they paved the way for this. I told them they may not realize this, but they put their school back on the map. They set a precedent really high for the underclassmen. It’s no hidden mystery we have some very talented kids coming back next year. This is what they want to achieve now. They played in three huge games out here. It will put some fire under them to work hard in the offseason to make it happen next year.”
Rave said her team stepped up all week in Fort Dodge. “I thought our pitchers did a great job this week. When you come out here every one is good. They faced some incredible batters and did their job on the mound. I thought our defense made some great plays. Our seniors got some big hits for us. I was so happy to see it all come together.”