It hasn’t been an accomplishment earned in nearly three years but Tuesday night in front of friends and family, the Waukee softball team clinched their 11th state tournament appearance in school history.
The Warriors (38-3) gave plenty for their hometown fans to cheer about as they punched their collective ticket with a 9-0 win over the Stars of Sioux City North (21-13) Tuesday night in Waukee.
The Lady Warriors struck a solid game both offensively and defensively which included tying for the third-most hits in a single game this season while giving up just three hits which ties for the third-lowest hit total Waukee has allowed this season.
Offensively the Warriors produced 14 hits complete with four multi-hit games. The biggest offensive night had to come from senior leadoff specialist Delaney Taylor who might as well have been called Ms. Efficient. Taylor rattled off three hits in her four trips to the plate, two of which were extra-base hits. The senior fell just short of the cycle, clobbering a single, a double, and a triple, just a home run shy of the elusive cycle. For efforts, Taylor drove in a single game season-best five RBI’s.
Taylor was a big catalyst who helped the Warriors break a 0-0 deadlock through three innings of play. That’s when Waukee broke out with a five-run fourth inning to capture an early 5-0 advantage. Waukee then tacked on four more insurance runs in the bottom half of the fifth inning to increase their lead and chances of winning 9-0. That score eventually stood the test of the game and with it, brought Waukee back to the state softball tournament.
Other notable offensive performers for the Warriors include senior Jalyn Youkovitz who drove in one run as part of a 2-for-4 performance at the plate. Freshman Reagan Bartholomew and junior Ariana Rodriguez also touched up a pair of hits for the game.
Inside the circle, just as they have all season, coach Eby and the Warriors employed a two pitcher system that limited Sioux City North to just three hits and no runs all game long. Up and coming sophomore hurler Elly Bates picked up the win on the night after tossing five strong innings of work. Bates picked up one of her season-best six strikeouts which now puts her at 105 total on the season, a mark that ranks second-best within the CIML-Iowa Conference. Bates also picked up a career-best 19th win. Sharing the pitching duties inside the circle was the future collegiate star, Molly Jacobson. The DMACC commit once again showcased her skills, this time in brief fashion going two innings strong and giving up just one hit while striking out two batters in the process.
The 9-0 win for the Warriors not only marked their 38th win of the 2019 campaign but also marked their 11th shutout victory of the year.
With their record of 38-3, the Warriors have clinched the number one spot in the Class 5A state tournament. They begin their championship run Tuesday, July 23 at 5 p.m. on Kruger Seeds Field. Their opponent will be Ottumwa who comes in as the eighth seed with a record of 33-7. Should the Warriors best Ottumwa, they would then move on and play the winner of fourth seed Indianola and fifth seed Johnston on Wednesday, July 24 at 7 p.m.