There never seemed to be much doubt that Dallas Center-Grimes would be the team hoisting the Class 4A state softball champions trophy at the end of this season after winning the title a year ago, losing only one starter coming into this year and entering the 2014 season as the No. 1 team in Class 4A. The Fillies lived up to their No. 1 ranking all season long, losing just one game and claiming their second-straight state championship on July 18 with a 5-0 win against Solon.
Despite it being the second time they’ve won the title in two seasons, DC-G coach Steve Schlafke said that it’s still a special feeling to be the top team at the end of the season.
"The first one, you never can get a feeling like that because it’s your first one, but when you win them back-to-back, this one’s obviously got a special feeling also because you do it twice in a row and good teams win it once and great teams win it twice, that’s kind of our motto," Schlafke said. "That was our goal coming into the season and we took on all comers and got the job done."
Paige Lowary, the senior pitcher for the Fillies described their championship this season as the "best feeling in the world" after the game was finished.
"This is the final goal, honestly, of any one season," Lowary said. "I’m so glad we did it twice in a row."
Lowary, the senior pitcher for the Fillies who pitched a one-hitter in the championship game with eight strikeouts and four walks in seven innings, was selected as the captain for the All-Tournament team. This is the second year in a row she was selected for the All-Tournament team.
Lowary finished this season with a 21-1 pitching record, only four earned runs for a 0.18 earned run average, and 264 strikeouts with batters only hitting .075 against her throughout the year. Her 264 strikeouts ranked her third in Class 4A this season.
The Fillies beat Solon in the championship game with a long-ball approach as they hit three home runs in the game. Two seniors, Tabitha Taylor and Jackie Peyton hit home runs in their last at bat of their high school careers for the Fillies.
"To have two seniors have their last at bat hit a home run, that’s pretty special," Schlafke said.
Schlafke said that he told a story to his players about a "kid a couple of years ago" where their last at bat was a home run.
"Well, scoot over, because we’ve got two more right now that did the same thing, and that was in the state championship game so that might be even a little bit bigger," Schlafke said.
Lexi Rosa, the designated hitter for the Fillies, also had a home run in the championship game.
Dallas Center-Grimes was the only softball team this year to win 40 or more games, as they went 41-1 overall. The next best mark in the state, in any class, was 39, tied for by Solon and Muscatine.
Schlafke said that teams will still be going after them next season after having to face Paige Lowary for the past five years.
"We’ve got kids in our program that are ready to step up, we’ve got good pitching coming back and we’ll be looking for the challenge," Schlafke said. "That’s going to be our goal again next year is just to get back here and we’ll see what happens. We’re looking forward to it."