The improbable run for a state title came to an abrupt close Tuesday afternoon for the Dallas Center-Grimes softball team in the opening round of the state tournament in Fort Dodge.
Fans flocked to the Harlan Rogers Sports Park to watch the Fillies compete in their eighth state tournament appearance. Unfortunately for DC-G fans, another big inning went against the Fillies as Filly softball fell to non conference rival A-D-M by a 9-1 final.
It was a game in which the Fillies actually struck first as Maria Hendricks drove in what would be the first and only run of the ball game in the top of the third. The first three innings in fact felt controlled by Dallas Center-Grimes and head coach Steve Schlafke talked about the strong start after the game.
“We actually had a great start to the game,” began Schlafke. “I thought the girls came to play right away and you saw that within the first three innings.”
From there however, the game would fall in control of A-D-M and game control shifted in the bottom half of the third after the Tigers plated two runs to take a 2-1 lead. Following that, the Fillies would suffer a all to well known big inning against them and watch the Tigers post six hits and six runs in the bottom of the fourth. That put the Fillies down 8-2 heading into the ladder innings which would increase to a 9-1 deficit at games end.
The Fillies acquired just one run off of three hits while suffering a season high four error game. The normally potent Filly offense was quieted in the game with a significant portion of the credit going to Tiger hurler Abbie Hlas as explained by coach Schlafke.
“We just weren’t able to connect on many solid hits today and a lot of that credit has to go to their pitcher Abbie Hlas,” began Schlafke. “She pitched really well and once she got a lead behind her she stepped up like a champion and even though we tried to make adjustments it just didn’t work out for us.”
Despite a not so great outing on paper, sophomore hurler Lani Gannon had a solid contest up against the fourth best scoring offense in Class 4A. Gannon gave up six hits allowing six earned runs. Gannon did walk four batters but struck out three Tiger hitters in the process. It was an outing that won’t be talked about by fans too much but it’s a performance that coach Schlafke was proud of out of his sophomore star.
“Lani was ready to go from the very beginning of the game,” started Schlafke. “She threw really well early by getting ahead in the count with her change-up working well. She was really hitting her spots overall. I think if we would have scored some runs for her that would’ve continued throughout the game. She’s really come along this year and she’s done so against some of the best offenses in the state. It may not look great now but that only helps her going forward.”
Coach Schlafke ended the day by speaking to the difficult journey it took for the Fillies to get here and how each player should be proud of making it to the hallowed grounds of Harlan Rogers Park.
“When you think about it, we’re one of the eight best teams in Class 4A this year,” began Schlafke. “Only eight teams get here and that’s what I told the girls. Coming here is a great way for our seniors to end their time at DC-G and it’s great for our younger athletes to learn and grow from. It’s a great experience and it’s so valuable for the future as they won’t be overwhelmed with the atmosphere next year.”
The Fillies won’t be able to claim a fourth state title just yet, but they can take solace in the fact that they were among the eight best teams in their class for the eighth time in program history. Next up for the Fillies will be the consolation match up against Cedar Rapids Xavier on Wednesday, July 18 on the Veterans’ Diamond at 11:30 a.m.