An offensive barrage propelled the Boone softball team to a victory in its Class 4-A Regional opener.
When the bats fell silent, however, the Toreadors’ season ended.
Four seniors helped settle a case of early jitters and lifted Boone to a 12-2 rout of Webster City in Thursday’s first-round matchup.
But in the semifinals, Norwalk’s Alyx Witt held the Toreadors to just two hits on Saturday, leading to a 5-1, season-ending loss.
The final record was 15-20.
Caitlynne Shadle, Jaiden Huseman, Lauren Calkins and Jordan Trowbridge celebrated what proved to be the final win of their careers after dispatching the Lynx.
And, briefly, they regained a bit of swagger.
“We can play with every team in our Regional, and we know that,” Shadle said. “We just have no fear going into these games.”
There were a few nerves in Boone’s postseason opener.
Webster City held a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning, before the Toreadors erupted for six runs.
They added six more in the bottom of the fourth.
“I could feel going into the third inning, after we (played) really good defense, that the momentum changed,” Huseman said. “You could just feel it with everybody going into the dugout.”
Shadle drove in Boone’s first run with a single, scoring Ellen Castle from second base. Calkins then plated Shadle with a double, evening the score at 2-2.
Huseman delivered another double to left-center field, giving the Toreadors a 6-2 advantage.
All six runs came with two outs.
“It just kind of makes you take a breath, especially on defense,” Huseman said, referring to the calming effect of taking a commanding lead. “Like, ok, if I make an error it won’t necessarily cost the game.”
Emma Dighton, one of four freshman who played, ended all suspense with a three-run home run in what turned out to be Boone’s final at-bat.
Dighton was also the winning pitcher, allowing six hits, walking none and striking out five.
Shadle finished two for three, with a triple and a sacrifice. Calkins drove in another run with a double in the fourth and made a diving catch in the outfield.
Boone finished with 11 hits in the five-inning contest.
“We’re definitely a very scrappy team,” Huseman said, “and everyone, no matter where they’re put… they’re still giving their best effort and that’s all us seniors can ask from them.”
The Toreadors used three different pitchers against Norwalk, with mixed results.
Three runs in the second inning gave the Warriors a 4-1 lead and control of the game on their home field.
Dighton helped Boone briefly tie the score, sparking a mini-rally with a single and eventually scoring on a Trowbridge grounder.
Dighton collected both of the Toreadors’ hits.
As a team, they finished 2 for 21 at the plate, struggling to connect when facing a pitcher they had scored three runs against a month earlier.
Norwalk advanced to the Regional final on Tuesday, where it was set to face ADM of Adel for a State Tournament berth.