Observations from Iowa state softball: Van Meter gives up early lead, quarterfinal to Iowa City Regina
FORT DODGE — Tuesday marked Day 2 of the Iowa high school state softball tournament and plenty of teams looked to punch their tickets to the semifinal round.
Davenport Assumption and Ballard started off the action, and the Knights put an early exclamation point on the day with a 12-2 win over the bombers to make the semifinals for the seventh straight season.
Plenty more teams in made it past the quarterfinal round, and semifinals in all classes will go on Wednesday.
Here are the highlights from Tuesday's state softball action.
Van Meter sets tone early but loses to Iowa City Regina
Van Meter may have entered the Iowa state softball tournament as a lower seed than its opponent, Iowa City Regina, but the Bulldogs were still the favorite to win Tuesday’s quarterfinal matchup.
The Bulldogs showed why that was early on, scoring two runs in the opening frame and holding a 4-0 lead by the middle of the second inning. It was pitcher Macy Blomgren who got things started for Van Meter, hitting a home run on her first at-bat to send her and Maia Abrahamson home.
Regina Catholic allowed a base hit, a home run and a walk on three of the first four Bulldogs batters.
Van Meter followed that with two successful sacrifice bunts in the second inning. Sami McDonald took the out at first to get Finley Netten home, and on the next at-bat, Abrahamson did the same thing, allowing Lauren Wallace to score. Regina Catholic fumbled the ball around the first base line and Abrahamson was able to get to first base safely.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the third inning when Regina Catholic got on the board. Dani Laughlin hit a RBI double and Natalie Gahan scored the opening run for the Regals. They added another run in the fourth when Gabby Sueppel took home off a hit from Jillian Panther.
Maddie Waldorf responded with an RBI double into centerfield, sending Kennedy Wiedman home and giving Van Meter a 5-2. But Regina Catholic wasn’t giving up that easily.
Courtney Kessler blasted a strong hit into right field, allowing Kies and Laughlin to score and move the Regals within one of Van Meter. Lilly Pricket took over pitching duties for the Bulldogs, but it did not last long. Kennedy Connor hit a huge double and Sueppel scored to tie the game, and Macy Blomgren — who started the game for Van Meter — returned to pitch.
Blomgren struck out Regina Catholic’s next batter, but pitcher Emma Nibaur and the rest of the Regals blanked Van Meter in the top of the sixth. It was in the bottom of the sixth that Regina Catholic took its first lead of the game. Dani Laughlin sent a fly out to center field and Morgan Gahan scored, giving the Regals a 6-5 lead over the Bulldogs heading into the seventh inning.
Abrahamson had a chance to score and tie the game for Van Meter, but the Regals catcher Alli Clark tagged her out at home plate. The Bulldogs still had runners on second and third, but they were unable to convert when Dani Laughlin caught Waldorf’s fly in center field to secure the 6-5 win for Regina Catholic.
Nibaur pitched all seven innings for Regina Catholic and allowed six hits and four runs in addition to eight strikeouts. Laughlin and Kessler each recorded a team-leading two RBIs for the Regals. Laughlin had two hits on four at-bats, and Kessler had one hit off three at-bats.
Van Meter pitcher Blomgren allowed seven hits and four runs in 5.33 innings played, while throwing five strikeouts and recording a 5.25 ERA. Blomgren led Van Meter batters with two RBIs and two hits on three at-bats.
Regina Catholic will play Central Springs in Wednesday’s semifinal after the Panthers beat Mt. Ayr, 6-0.
Carlisle upsets Norwalk for spot in 4A semifinal against Winterset
Jena Young hit her state-leading 21st home run of the season in Monday’s quarterfinal game between Winterset and Burlington, helping the Huskies become the first 4A team to make it to the semifinal round.
Next up was a matchup between No. 4 Norwalk and No. 5 Carlisle, and it was the lower-seeded Wildcats who advanced to the next round.
Carlisle defeated Norwalk, 8-4, despite two home runs from Norwalk’s Lauren Black and Bailey Bermingham. Those two players, in addition to Maddie Gullion and Savannah Welch recorded the four runs for the Warriors.
On the winning side, Reagan Roling; Laney Schick; Lauren McGriff; Evan Johnson; Caylin Furnal; Natalie Ramsey Amber Dougherty and Abby Barry combined for Carlisle’s eight runs. The Wildcats’ two pitchers — Logan Brown and Addesyn Abel — split action in quarterfinal matchup, and the duo allowed just eight hits and combined for nine strikeouts.
North Scott to face Dallas Center-Grimes in 4A semifinals
Four other Class 4A teams took to the field on Monday night, competing for a spot in the second semifinal game. ADM faced off against North Scott and Dallas Center-Grimes took on Indianola.
No. 7 North Scott surprised No. 2 ADM with a close 2-1 victory. Carley Bredar and Sydney Skarich each scored one run for the Lancers, while Aliya Yanga’s home run was the only score for ADM. Yanga also pitched all seven innings for the Tigers, allowing eight hits but striking out eight batters.
Maddy McDermott pitched all seven innings for North Scott. She allowed just five hits and struck out six batters.
In the fourth and final 3A matchup, Dallas Center-Grimes beat Indianola, 9-3, and advanced to play North Scott on Wednesday. Jenna Morrison and Abby Osborn each recorded two runs for the Mustangs, and Reese Burke, Addison Lyddon, Izabella Mulder, Macee Reiling and Grace Johnson each scored one run.
Aubrey Johnasen and Camila Rodriquez split time pitching for DCG, and combined for three strikeouts.
Assumption softball continues dominance in the diamond
Mt. Vernon and Saydel advanced to the Class 3A semifinals with victories over Wahlert and Davis County, respectively, on Monday. But four other teams had to wait until Tuesday to see if they would advance to the next round.
Davenport Assumption and Ballard kicked off the action at the state softball tournament on Tuesday, with the No. 2 seeded Knights walking away with a 12-2 win over Ballard in six innings. Assumption continued its dominance in the diamond, with all ten players in the Knights’ lineup recording at least one hit.
With the win, Assumption softball made the semifinals for the seventh straight season and will play Williamsburg on Wednesday for a spot in the championship.
Williamsburg’s matchup against Sioux Center was a closer contest than the Assumption-Ballard game. Junior pitcher Peyton Driscoll was on fire for the Raiders, playing all seven innings and recording 14 strikeouts.
Wilton upsets Logan-Magnolia, North Union advances to 2A semifinals
All eight Class 2A teams took to the fields at Rogers Sports Complex on Tuesday, and first up was North Union and Louisa-Muscatine. The second-seeded Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead by the end of the third inning, and that was enough to hold off Louisa-Muscatine, which found its footing in the later innings.
Despite the Falcons coming back to make the score 4-3 in the top of the seventh, it was North Union that became the first team to advance to the 2A semifinals.
The next matchup in 2A was between previously undefeated Logan-Magnolia and Wilton. It was the lower-ranked Beavers who jumped out to an early lead against Logan-Magnolia. Wilton held a 4-0 lead before the Panthers scored their first run of the quarterfinal in the bottom of the third inning.
That score held for a couple more innings, with it looking like Wilton would upset it higher-ranked opponent. But the tide turned in the fifth inning. Logan-Magnolia — down by three runs — tied the game thanks to a two-RBI double by Samantha Yoder, followed by an RBI base hit by Macanna Gurtiz.
Wilton recovered from the Panthers’ surge in the sixth inning, picking up two runs on three hits. The Beavers added another run in the top of the seventh, and the 7-4 win was all Wilton need to advance to the 2A semifinals and bring an end to Logan-Magnolia’s undefeated season.
Alyssa Hertel is the college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.