ROLAND - The offense clicked on the first day, and pitching and defense was there both days for the No. 3 (Class 4A) Ballard softball team at the Kiwanis Invitational, held last Thursday through Saturday at Bill Hennessy Field in Roland.
Ballard went 4-0, playing two games on Thursday and two more Saturday.
The Bombers (22-4) didn’t give up a run over the two days. They outscored their opposition by a combined margin of 26-0 to bounce back strong from their first Raccoon River Conference loss — a 5-4 setback at Carroll on June 13.
“It feels good to come back after Carroll and (win) four in a row,” Ballard second baseman Isabell Hobbs said. “It really helped us boost our confidence after that loss.”
On Thursday, Ballard whipped Gilbert by a 13-0 score in four innings and Nevada by an 8-0 margin.
Maggie Larson continued her tear at the plate by smashing two home runs and driving in five runs against Gilbert and going 2-for-4 with another long ball and four RBI in the win over Nevada. The two games pushed Larson’s home run total to 11, ranking third in the entire state at the conclusion of the weekend.
Against Gilbert, Abby Carlin doubled and drove in two runs, Megan Hadaway singled in two runs and Skylar Rigby doubled, scored and pushed one run across. Karlee Ahrenholtz was 2-for-3 and Hobbs, Rachel Newell, Hannah Elliott, Kiersten McKinney and Jenna Moody each singled and scored.
Carlin fired a two-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks, going all four innings to get the win on the mound versus Gilbert.
Ballard started slow, but gradually hit its stride on offense versus Nevada.
The Bombers only scored one run over the first three innings. By the end of five innings, they were clinging to a 3-0 advantage.
But Ballard put up two runs in the sixth, then Larson put the final nail in Nevada’s coffin with a three-run bomb in the seventh.
Elliott was the winning pitcher against Nevada after picking up one strikeout and walk apiece in three scoreless innings. Carlin went the rest of the way and finished with six strikeouts and one walk.
At the plate against the Cubs, Elliott was 3-for-4 with one run and two RBI and Newell finished 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and two steals. McKinney went 2-for-3 with a run, Carlin doubled and drove in a run, Moody singled and stole a base, Shayia Schulze singled and scored and Megan Hadaway added a single and an RBI.
Madi McGaffin gave up six earned runs with one strikeout and no walks, going all seven innings for Nevada. Grace Francis was 3-for-3 with a double offensively for the Cubs.
The Bombers opened Saturday’s competition with a 4-0 victory over Ames. Hobbs was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI, Carlin went 2-for-3 with a double and Newell doubled and scored for Ballard in the win.
Elliott also went 2-for-3, Karlee Ahrenholtz doubled and Kate Rietz scored twice versus the Little Cyclones. Carlin struck out 10 and she gave up seven hits and one walk, going all seven innings to pick up the victory.
Macee Buss gave up three earned runs with four strikeouts and no walks in six innings for Ames in a losing effort. Izzy Collins and Hope Morken each had two hits for the Little Cyclones.
Defense did the job for Ballard in a 1-0 victory over South Hamilton to close out the competition Saturday. Ballard only finished with two hits, but its defense made outstanding plays in the field and went error-free.
“I really knew (we) needed to pick ourselves up and make all the plays because that was a really low-scoring game,” Ballard freshman shortstop Isabella Johnson said. “Any error could really affect the whole situation of the game.”
Johnson came up with a huge play in the fourth inning. South Hamilton had a runner on first with no outs when she fielded a grounder by Taylor Volkmann, tagged second and fired over to first for a rare double play.
“It’s a really big deal to have good plays,” Johnson said. “It could change the game if you don’t make them.”
Hobbs also made a double play in the sixth inning when she caught a pop fly and threw to first to double up the Hawks’ Marla Grubb, who reached on a one-out single.
Elliott was the winning pitcher. She threw five scoreless innings and gave up four hits and no walks with two strikeouts.
Elliott has come up big backing up Carlin recently. She got a win over a top-five Winterset team on the road June 7 and also has wins over Van Meter and Colfax-Mingo on June 9 and 10 respectively.
“I have to stay confident and know what I’m doing will work,” Elliott said. “And trust the coaches and what they’re saying.”
Carlin allowed just two hits with three strikeouts and no walks in two innings of relief.
Both Ballard hits off Volkmann came in the first inning and it resulted in the lone Bomber run. Rigby singled and scored off a hit from Hobbs.
Ballard 13, Gilbert 0 (4)
B 405 4 - 13 12 NA
G 000 0 - 0 2 NA
B: Abby Carlin and Skylar Rigby.
2B: B - Carlin, Rigby.
HR: B - Maggie Larson 2.
Ballard 8, Nevada 0
N 000 000 0 - 0 6 NA
B 001 112 3 - 8 13 NA
N: Madi McGaffin and Gracie Barloon.
B: Hannah Elliott, Carlin (4) and Rigby.
2B: N - Grace Francis. B - Carlin, Rachel Newell.
HR: B - Larson.
Ballard 4, Ames 0
B 102 010 X - 4 8 NA
A 000 000 0 - 0 7 NA
B: Carlin and Rigby.
A: Macee Buss and Julia Stevens.
2B: B - Carlin, Newell, Karlee Ahrenholtz. A - Ashley Nethers.
HR: B - Isabell Hobbs.
Ballard 1, South Hamilton 0
SH 000 000 0 - 0 6 2
B 100 000 X - 1 2 0
SH: Taylor Volkmann and Marla Grubb.
B: Elliott, Carlin (5) and Rigby.
CARROLL - Ballard wasn’t able to pull off a big comeback against Carroll, suffering its first Raccoon River Conference loss of the season, 5-4, June 13 at Carroll.
The Bombers couldn’t string anything together over the first six innings to fall behind 2-0. Then they erupted for four runs in the top of the seventh.
But just when it seemed Ballard was destined to remain unbeaten in the conference, Carroll came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning to hand the Bombers a heartbreaking defeat. The loss put Ballard at 7-1 in the RRC.
Skylar Rigby was 2-for-4 with a double, walk and run and Maggie Larson went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Ballard at the plate. Kiersten McKinney went 2-for-4 with a run; Isabell Hobbs singled, scored and drove in a run; Karlee Ahrenholtz and Hannah Elliott each singled and knocked in a run and Isabella Johnson and Rachel Newell each singled once.
Jenna Moody scored one run and Megan Hadaway drew a walk for the Bombers. Elliott was the losing pitcher after going all seven innings and giving up five earned runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and walks apiece.
Julia LaRue allowed three earned runs with four walks and one strikeout in seven innings to get the win for Carroll. Karlee Jones hit a solo home run, Chloe Gallegos went 2-for-4 with a double, run and RBI and Ashley Onken doubled and drove in a run for the Tigers.
Carroll 5, Ballard 4
B 000 000 4 - 4 11 NA
C 100 100 3 - 5 9 NA
B: Hannah Elliott and Skylar Rigby.
C: Julia LaRue and Chloe Gallegos.
2B: B - Rigby, Maggie Larson. C - Gallegos, Ashley Onken, Grace Jorgenson.
HR: C - Karlee Jones.