Class 4A’s sixth-ranked West Delaware Hawks went 4-2 in a hotly contested final week of regular season softball action, splitting series with 3A, No. 13 Mount Vernon, July 1, and with 4A, No. 13 Central DeWitt, July 3. The Hawks outscored Maquoketa, 25-5, across a pair of games July 5 to close out their regular season at 26-10 (20-6 WaMaC).
Heather Heims went 2-for-3 and sparked one of the three RBIs it took to win game one over Mount Vernon, 4-3. The Hawks opened the game with a pair before Mount Vernon (24-11) brought it back to 2-2 after three. Each team added another run in the fifth before West Delaware secured the win in the top of the sixth.
“Mount Vernon is always a competitive game for us. We are both great teams. Ultimately, both victories came down to errors. We capitalized on some of the errors they made in game one, and they did the same thing to us in the next one,” head coach Tiffany Rave said of the series.
Junior Macy Kleitsch provided seven strong innings of work in game one, allowing eight hits and three earned runs with 10 strikeouts. Freshman Ella Koloc and senior Tehya Demmer added an RBI each.
The pitching success continued in game two, however this time the hosts pulled off the 3-1 victory after a big third inning produced all the runs they needed. Sophomore leadoff hitter Eve Wedewer batted in the lone Hawk run with a double in the top of the fifth to send Kayla Felton home.
The Hawks’ senior ace, Emily Klostermann, allowed just one hit and struck out five to finish game two with a 1.17 ERA.
“(Klostermann) pitched a phenomenal game two,” Rave said. “She did an excellent job of keeping the batting guessing, and unfortunately we had one bad inning defensively. I was proud of how we continued to fight in this game, but couldn’t come up with that clutch hit.”
The onslaught of ranked opponents continued against Central DeWitt (25-8) two days later. The Sabers took game one, 1-0, thanks to a strong outing from pitcher Mya Cavanaugh. Kleitsch fanned five, allowed six hits and one earned run in six innings.
“The first one was a true pitcher’s duel. They scored their lone run in the fourth inning with a lead-off double, and then someone hit her in,” Rave said.
Wedewer went 2-for-3 and produced half of the Hawk hits in that one, while Claire Demmer added a double. Hanna Palzkill was 2-for-3 for the Sabers and was responsible for the game-winning RBI.
Game two saw the Hawks take control en route to a 6-1 statement win. West Delaware came out and scored a run in each of the first two innings, but sealed things with a big three-run fourth before adding an insurance run in their final offensive frame.
“We were able to get out of a lot of innings. Both pitchers threw nice ball games, and we played solid defense,” Rave said of the nightcap.
Klostermann struck out four, walked two and allowed zero earned runs off a trio of Saber hits. Sophomore Eva Winn (2-for-3, double, RBI, two runs) and senior JoAnna Voss (2-for-2, two RBI) led the Hawk hitters there, while Koloc and Tehya Demmer each batted a run in as well.
West Delaware returned home for a much easier time in their third doubleheader of the week, against Maquoketa, July 5. In short, the Hawks outscored the visitors 25-5 and took both games with scores of 10-0 and 15-5.
“First off, our girls did an exceptional job of making adjustments at the plate and swinging at good pitches. We hit the ball hard up and down the lineup. It was a lot of fun to see those two seniors and (Kleitsch) come up with some long balls. Both pitchers played great and we played great defense other than one inning in game two,” Rave said.
Claire Demmer smacked a three-run homer and batted in four total runners in game one in a 2-for-2 day. Kleitsch struck out three and gave up just one hit in five innings to earn the win — her tenth on the season.
“In between games we honored our four seniors — Claire Demmer, Tehya Demmer, Emily Klostermann and JoAnna Voss. We are thankful for everything that they have given to our program and we are lucky to have leaders like them,” Rave said. “We also took a moment to look at how far WD Hawk Softball has come in the past 50 years. There have been numerous conference championships, state tournament qualifiers, and one state championship team in 2007.”
Game two had the Hawks going 18-5 on hits over the Cardinals (10-26), winning handily in a 13 RBI team effort. Kleitsch was excellent from behind the plate in a 3-for-4 day that included a three-run long shot. Tehya Demmer (2-for-3, double, HR, four RBI), Koloc (2-for-4, four runs, four SB, RBI) and junior Leah Wegmann (3-for-4, RBI) added more offensive spark in game two, while Klostermann finished the game with an ERA of 1.17 — striking out three and giving up two hits and one earned run.
Next up for the Hawks will be the Class 4A Region 7 Semifinal, to be played against either that very same Maquoketa team — or more likely, area rival and former WaMaC mate, Western Dubuque (17-15).
“As a coaching staff we continue to do our homework every day to prepare for postseason. This is a fun time of the year, but ultimately we will focus on the one thing we can control — ourselves,” Rave said. “We will be attending the game on Thursday, so we will know our opponent for Saturday as soon as that game is complete.”
The Hawks have a trio of players near the top of the Class 4A leaderboards. Wedewer’s 59 hits on the season are good for third in the class and 16th among all classes in Iowa. Her average of .468 is just inside the top-20 in 4A.
West Delaware also features one of just three pitching duos that have pierced the 4A top-15 for ERA, alongside fourth ranked North Scott and Washington. Klostermann’s 1.78 is good for 12th in the division, while Kleitsch is 15th with an ERA of 1.90.