At this point in the postseason, high school softball fans shouldn’t be surprised at what the Dallas Center-Grimes softball team is doing yet still the Fillies shocked the softball world by defeating Pella Tuesday night in Regional final action.
The setting took place in Pella where the Fillies had to knock off a team that had outscored them 19-5 during the regular season. In a heroic effort, the Fillies avenged their two losses to Pella and kept the improbable comeback going with a 6-5 victory to send them to their eighth state tournament appearance in school history. It was a huge win for the team and a win that head coach Steve Schlafke mentioned was well deserved.
“These girls more than deserved their ticket to state,” began Schlafke. “With the tough season we had this year and all the adversity the girls had to go through they deserved this.”
The win secured their eighth state tournament appearance in school history and marks just the first time in over six years that a team with a loosing record has entered the state tournament.
The scoring action started with Kamryn O’Brien, who already had a night to remember against Carlisle, joined in with senior Amber Fistler in back to back singles which set up a prime RBI opportunity for Molly Cooney. In the top of the first, Cooney collected her 14th RBI of the season to give the Fillies a short lead of 1-0 which held for four innings of play.
Flashbacks of older games crept back after Pella established their first lead of the game in the fifth by plating two runs and establishing a 2-1 lead. Those thoughts were slightly put to rest after Kylie Merical and Lani Gannon tied the game up with a pair of singles in the top of the sixth. It looked bleak for the Fillies who once again saw their lead morph into a deficit thanks to a Lady Dutch solo homer.
From there a magical inning took place and it all started with an Amber Fistler double to tie the game up at three in the seventh inning. A pair of two out singles by freshman Morgan Rosenbeck and sophomore Lani Gannon added fuel to the offensive fire for DC-G, and their lead heading into the seventh inning held 6-3. The Lady Dutch did have a strong comeback themselves by bringing two runs home on a bases loaded situation.
The Fillies played near flawlessly at the plate including the bottom of the line up which housed the likes of Lani Gannon who helped out her out cause with a three RBI night. The line up was extremely effective from top to bottom highlighted by the seven, eight, and nine hitters. The trio for the Fillies went 5-12 with four runs driven in.
“We talk all the time about having a good hitting line up from the lead off batter to the number nine hitter,” began Schlafke. “Against Pella our 7-8-9 batters out did theirs and it really helped us continually put pressure on their pitching staff and their defense.”
The DC-G pitching pair held their ground and in the end, held Pella to just five runs allowed through seven innings of play.
The improbable win followed the key points head coach Steve Schlafke spoke about before the game.
“The big thing for us not just this game but the last two games as well, was that we didn’t give up that big inning,” said Schlafke. “Offensively we have been able to connect on hits we just weren’t able to during the regular season, and against Pella we were and that’s what helped us win. We were the perfect mix of patient yet aggressive at the plate.”
The Fillies have now punched their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since the 2015 season where they were crowned champions. This time around the Fillies will have a tougher task ahead and it starts with round one. The first game out of the starting gate for DC-G will be against the tournament top seed A-D-M which will begin from the Buena Vista University Diamond in Fort Dodge Tuesday, July 17 at 1 p.m.
A-D-M took the win over Dallas Center-Grimes earlier in the season but so too did the Pella Lady Dutch.