Jurgens HRs lift CMB past Saydel in regional semis

Story and photos by Joe RandlemanStaff Writer
Jurgens HRs lift CMB past Saydel in regional semis

COLLINS - The power of Payge Jurgens at the plate and Mikayla Houge on the mound lifted the Collins-Maxwell-Baxter softball team to a 5-1 victory over Saydel in the Class 3A regional semifinals Friday in Collins.

Jurgens hit two moon-shot home runs and Houge finished with eight strikeouts and no walks. The impressive performances helped CMB avenge an earlier 4-0 home loss to the Eagles and earn a trip to the regional finals for the second year in a row.

“I wanted that rematch with them so bad,” Jurgens said. “I knew we could win, and tonight we proved that we are the best team in (the Heart of Iowa Conference).”

Jurgens showed tremendous senior leadership by coming up huge in back-to-back innings to completely change the complexion of the game.

Saydel was leading 1-0 going into the fourth inning after Lyndsay Bianchi drilled a Houge pitch over the fence in right field with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. The score stayed that way until Jurgens went up to bat to lead off the top of the fourth.

Jurgens got a hold of a Taylor Tague pitch and hit a high, arching shot that made it over the fence in center field to tie the game.

“The first one kind of was on a change-up,” Jurgens said. “I didn’t mean to swing at it, but I was already swinging, so I went for it.”

CMB had a chance to do more damage in the inning after getting runners on first and second with just one out. But Tague forced a pop-up to shortstop and a fly out to right field to get out of the jam.

Saydel’s relief was short-lived.

After Houge worked around a leadoff single by Alexis Carney to keep Saydel off the board in the bottom of the fourth, the Raiders mounted another rally in the top of the fifth.

Katie Camp drew a one-out walk and Abbey Kahler followed with a single for CMB in its half of the fifth. That brought Jurgens back up to the plate to face relief pitcher Jade Olsen.

Jurgens got a hold of an Olsen pitch and there was no doubt at all on this one at all.

Jurgens absolutely crushed a towering ball to left field. The ball cleared the fence by a long distance - landing on top of the batting cage behind the left-field fence to give CMB a 4-1 lead.

“The first one was iffy, the second one — as soon as I hit it I was like ‘that’s gone,”’ Jurgens said. “The second one I was just thinking ‘hey, I’ve got to break this open. We’ve got to get these runs for the team.’ I want to be there for the team.”

CMB added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Jurgens walked and courtesy runner Gracie Cheville found her way home on a single hit by Hannah Caple.

Meanwhile on the mound, Houge was humming right along for CMB.

Houge gave up three hits in the first two innings. She limited Saydel to just two hits the rest of the way - finishing with eight strikeouts and no walks.

“My curveball and my rise ball were working a lot better and I was hitting my spots a lot better tonight than I have been,” Houge said. “I knew I could get through the whole order and shut them down when I needed to, and just come up big for my team when they need me most.”

The Raider hurler said her experience in the Little League World Series last year helped her overcome Bianchi’s home run to turn in a strong performance.

“It prepared me for these type of games - these tight games,” Houge said. “Getting to the World Series - the regional championship game was a really tight game we only won 2-1. That taught me to stay focused — make the pitches I can and shut them down.”

The win put CMB at 24-8 on the season. Jurgens ended up 3-for-3 with two runs, a walk and four RBI and Kahler was 1-for-4 with a run.

Caple, Houge, Megan Ritter and Holly Jessen each added one single for CMB. Caple also drew two walks, Jessen picked up one free pass and Camp ended up with a walk and a run.

Carney ended up with three singles and McKenzie Carney added an infield hit to go along with Bianchi’s home run for Saydel. Tague took the loss as she allowed three earned runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 ? innings.

The Eagles ended their season at 21-11.

CMB 5, Saydel 1

CMB 000 130 1 - 5 8 1

S 100 000 0 - 1 5 2

CMB: Mikayla Houge and Hannah Caple.

S: Taylor Tague, Jade Olsen (5), Kaylee Polke (5) and Lyndsay Bianchi.

WP: Houge.

LP: Tague.

HR: S - Bianchi. CMB - Payge Jurgens 2.

COLLINS - A huge sixth inning made the difference in Collins-Maxwell-Baxter’s 14-4 dismantling of Prairie City-Monroe in six innings during Class 3A regional quarterfinal play July 6 at Collins.

CMB broke a 4-4 tie with a remarkable 10-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth to end the game early on account of the 10-run rule.

CMB had eight hits on the night. The Raiders also took advantage of seven walks.

Mikayla Eslinger hit two doubles and drove in four runs and Mikayla Houge was 2-for-4 with a double, run and four RBI to pace the Raiders on offense. Megan Ritter doubled, walked and tallied two runs and RBI apiece and Abbey Kahler doubled and knocked in two runs for CMB.

Payge Jurgens was 1-for-2 with two walks and a pair of runs and Hannah Caple singled once for CMB. Katie Camp scored one run, Veronica Condon drew a walk, Holly Jessen walked once and scored two times, Jordynn Wesselink walked once and scored a run, Abby Husak crossed the plate twice and Gracie Cheville also scored a run.

Kahler was the winning pitcher. She allowed four runs - two earned - on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in six innings.

CMB 14, PCM 4 (6)

PCM 002 020 - 4 5 NA

CMB 202 00(10) - 14 8 NA

CMB: Abbey Kahler and Hannah Caple.

WP: Kahler.

2B: CMB - Mikayla Eslinger 2, Kahler, Megan Ritter, Mikayla Houge.