COLLINS - Collins-Maxwell-Baxter had more hits, but Des Moines Christian got the big ones when they mattered during the Class 2A regional semifinal game between the two teams Friday in Collins.
CMB — the No. 1 team in 2A — saw its dream of returning to state end with a 4-0 loss in the final game in program history.
The Raiders finished with seven hits and pitcher Abbey Kahler limited the Lions to just three. But all three Des Moines Christian base knocks went for extra bases, including two home runs that turned out to be the difference makers.
“That’s why this game is the way it is,” CMB head softball coach Troy Houge said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes you don’t win those games. I give them credit. They did what they had to do to win the game. They didn’t do a lot, but they did just enough and we didn’t do what we needed to do.”
Des Moines Christian scored twice in the fourth inning and added two more runs in the sixth — all four scores coming courtesy of the long ball. Emma Veenstra and Olivia Penland each hit a two-run homer for the Lions.
The only other hit for Des Moines Christian was a double by Alayna Blake, who also walked once, stole a base and scored two runs.
Kahler was magnificent in defeat. In her final game, Kahler gave up just the three hits and she struck out eight batters — all coming in the first nine Des Moines Christian at-bats — and she only had one walk.
“She was in total control of that game, and they got two (home runs) on her,” Houge said. “She was outstanding all night. It’s unfortunate, because this is the only time all year we’ve been shut out, and we shouldn’t have been. We just didn’t execute when we needed to. We made it too easy for them sometimes.”
CMB had runners on base in every inning. Hannah Caple doubled and singled and senior Megan Ritter singled and stole two bases. Mikayla Eslinger, Holly Jessen, Abby Husak and Jordynn Wesselink each came up with one single and Wesselink also walked once.
With the loss, CMB ended its final season at 26-6.
“I’m getting emotional; they’re all getting emotional,” Houge said. “It’s tough because this group is a family. These girls love each other. They have loved being with each other this whole year.”
CMB still achieved a lot in its final season. Following last year’s fifth-place showing in 3A at state — the lone state appearance in program history — the Raiders won their first outright Heart of Iowa Conference championship this summer and also ended the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in program history.
“My message to them was that they are champions in my heart,” Houge said. “There’s nobody in this state that’s had to deal with what they’ve had to deal with this year. With the split, getting the target on your back of being ranked, they’ve had a lot on their shoulders all year long. There’s nobody that’s had to deal with knowing that as soon as this is done, this is it. That’s always in the back of their mind. I told them, you’re champions, no matter what the score was here. You’re champions because you held your heads high in the way you handled everything all year long.”
Des Moines Christian improved to 19-12. Penland was the winning pitcher, going all seven innings and striking out five with one walk.
Des Moines Christian 4, CMB 0
DMC 000 202 0 - 4 3 NA
CMB 000 000 0 - 0 7 NA
DMC: Olivia Penland and Katie Schmidt.
CMB: Abbey Kahler and Hannah Caple.
2B: DMC - Alayna Bakke. CMB - Hannah Caple.
HR: DMC - Penland, Emma Veenstra.
COLLINS - Collins-Maxwell-Baxter survived a late comeback attempt by Woodward-Granger to down the Hawks by a 6-2 score in the Class 2A regional quarterfinals July 5 in Collins.
The Raiders took a 3-0 lead after scoring twice in the second and adding another score in the fifth. Woodward-Granger didn’t roll over, though, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a game.
But CMB showed great poise under pressure. The Heart of Iowa Conference champions responded to Woodward-Granger’s two scores with three runs of their own in the top of the seventh, and Raider pitcher Mikayla Houge stymied the Hawk batters in the seventh to finish off the victory.
Houge only gave up two hits and she fanned a whopping 14 batters with only two walks in seven innings to earn the win in an impressive performance. The CMB offense backed her up with seven hits and the Raiders also drew five walks off Hawk hurler Riley Jamison.
Hannah Caple doubled and drove in two runs and Houge, Megan Ritter, Katie Camp, Holly Jessen, Abby Husak and Jordynn Wesselink each singled once for CMB. Houge drove in one run; Ritter and Camp both stole a base and scored once; Jessen walked, stole a base and drove in a run; Husak stole one base and Wesselink walked and drove in one run.
Jamison gave up four earned runs with five walks and one strikeout in seven innings as the losing pitcher. On offense, Katelyn Bandstra singled, stole a base and scored; Miranda Aunspach walked, stole a base and scored; Kendra Husmann stole a base and drove in a run and Jamison was 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Hawks, who finished 15-20.
CMB 6, Woodward-Granger 2
CMB 020 010 3 - 6 7 NA
WG 000 002 0 - 2 2 NA
CMB: Mikayla Houge and Hannah Caple.
WG: Riley Jamison and Maggi Mallon.
2B: CMB - Caple.