Upstart Bomber softball team punches ticket to state: Ballard upsets No. 4 West Liberty in regionals

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Sam Vetter, Brooklyn Baumgardner, Kasey Larson and Elle Husak led Ballard to an 8-1 upset of No. 4 West Liberty in the Class 3A regional finals July 12 at West Liberty. The victory sent the Bombers to state for the first time since 2017.

The Ballard softball team picked the perfect time to start clicking on all cylinders.

The Bombers capped a dominant run through Class 3A regional play with an impressive 8-1 upset victory over No. 4 West Liberty in the regional final at West Liberty July 12. The victory put Ballard at 16-20 and sent the Bombers to the state softball tournament for the first time since 2017.

“We’re relaxed and playing well behind B (Brooklyn Baumgardner),” Ella Husak said. “We’re ready for anything.” 

Baumgardner was sensational against West Liberty. She held the Comets to just one hit and she finished with six strikeouts.

“I’ve felt comfortable with Sam (Vetter) behind the plate and my defense behind me,” Baumgardner said. “I’ve trusted our pitch-calling. We know each hitter and if I hit my spot I know that we have a good chance.”

Vetter, the Bomber catcher, has been impressed with how her battery mate has been throwing in the postseason. Over the three regional games Baumgardner allowed one unearned run on just seven hits with 15 strikeouts and seven walks in 19 innings.

“She’s so good,” Vetter said. “She just hits her spots all the time.”

Baumgardner was also huge offensively for Ballard in the win. She finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a double, triple and three RBIs.

Husak was the sparkplug for Ballard on offense. She finished 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs and she was also hit by a pitch.

Jocie Hobbs went 1-for-3 and drove in two runs and Maggie Mortensen doubled, scored and drove in a run. Jada Lande doubled and drove in a run, Ellie Volkmann singled and scored and Kora Johnson was 1-for-2 with an RBI.

Kasey Larson also went 1-for-3 with a run and she added a sacrifice hit. Vetter and Payton Askelsen each scored one run.