Softball had never made Timberland’s Lindsay Parker cry before, but when the Wolves got the final out of the Class 3 state final on Monday, tears of joy flowed from Parker’s eyes.
Parker pitched a complete game, scattering five hits, in the Wolves 4-0 victory against Sullivan at Cosmopolitan Park. Timberland (20-7) won its first softball title in only its second year of existence.
“This is just amazing, absolutely unbelievable,” Parker said. “I worked so hard, and my team worked twice as hard behind me. It was a total team effort.”
Parker also had a hand in the Wolves’ first run. After lead-off hitter Latosha Aaron singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Parker grounded a 2-2 pitch to third, but Darla Newman’s throw to first was errant. The miscue allowed Aaron to score.
It was the only run Parker (17-4) would need as Sullivan managed to only threaten twice. Eva Thurmond led off the game for the Eagles (22-7) and reached second base with no one out but was a non-factor after Candace Schatz lined into a double play.
Eagles pitcher Meghan Bailey led off the third inning with a double to right, but she was stranded at third when Parker struck out second baseman Ashley Sifford.
The Wolves added three insurance runs in the second inning. Shortstop Lizy Fox’s one-out single scored catcher Megan Rhodes to make the score 2-0. Fox scored a batter later on an overthrow on Dana Romans’ bunt. Romans stopped at third and came home when Aaron grounded out to the shortstop.
“We like to put pressure on the other team,” coach Scott Harris said. “We want to get girls on, want to bunt them over, make somebody field it and make them throw it away like they did. Put pressure on the defense is what we tried to do all year, and we kept doing it (Monday).”
Bailey (19-6) struck out eight for the Eagles.
HELIAS 2, LINDBERGH 0: Lauren Delaney pitched a perfect game to give Helias the Class 4 state title. She struck out 14, including eight of the last nine.
“You have to give credit where credit is due,” Lindbergh coach Darin Scott said. “(Helias) is a great ball club, and (Delaney) was dominating all the way.”
Aside from Delaney’s pitching, timely hitting and strong defense were the keys to the Crusaders’ (28-2) win, Helias coach Dan Campbell said.
“I thought our defense was solid again. Lauren threw another great game, and we made some good plays behind her,” Campbell said.
Campbell said scoring early put the pressure on the Flyers (21-11-1).
“We got those two (runs) in the first, and it kind of broke the ice for us. It was a solid performance for us,” he said.
Junior leadoff hitter Megan Struemph led off the game with a walk and reached second on Kayla Schanzmeyer’s sacrifice bunt, then scored on a Cassey Kemna single up the middle. Mandy Henke’s single then scored Kemna.
Delaney finished 20-0 on the season. Flyers’ pitcher Sarah Dooley dropped to 16-7.
— John Simpson
PUTNAM COUNTY 3, LAWSON 0: Jackie Loughead is having a busy week. She pitched a shutout to help Putnam County win the Class 2 state championship and will have knee surgery Thursday.
Loughead, wearing a heavy kneebrace, threw six strikeouts and allowed only three hits.
“She’s just been solid,” coach Mike Schmidli said. “She got in a roll and did great.”
After injuring her left knee early in the season, Loughead (20-0) returned to the team midway through the season, only to aggravate the injury further. She missed several more games and seriously considered quitting the team before returning to play in the postseason.
“I’m so glad my team members talked me into staying,” Loughead said. “I’m really glad I could go down strong.”
The Midgets’ first run came in the second inning. Brooke Schultz singled, stole second, then scored on third baseman Julie Wilkinson’s fly ball, which Lawson centerfielder Cortney Elliot misjudged, giving Wilkinson a double.
“I just played it like it was any other practice or game,” Wilkinson said. “I don’t know if that was everyone’s strategy, but it worked for me. I think it kept down the nervousness.”
In the top of the fourth, Wilkinson, a freshman, bunted. Outfielder Katy Fischgrabe walked, moving Wilkinson to second. Hayley Montgomery bunted and outran the throw, allowing Wilkinson to score. Courtnee Ream was tagged out at first on a ball hit to left field, bringing in Fischgrabe.
“We played together as a team very well,” Wilkinson said.
The Midgets didn’t make any errors. In the fourth inning, second baseman Montgomery and shortstop Ream collided in pursuit of a fly ball. They tangled their legs, hit knees and shins and both fell to the ground. As they lay in the dirt, Montgomery shot her arm into the air with the ball in her glove.
“They played just as tough as nails on defense,” Schmidli said.
Putnam County (22-7) has made nine trips to the semifinals in the past 10 years, winning championships in 1990 and 1998. Lawson finished 24-3.
“Expectations are high every year, but yeah, I think they’ll go up even more,” Schmidli said.
— Emily Griffeth
NEW FRANKLIN 1, PURDY 0: No team had held New Franklin scoreless for seven innings all season until Purdy held the Bulldogs scoreless for 9 2/3 innings in the Class 1 state final on Monday. It wasn’t enough, though.
Purdy ace Megan Leonard continued a strong performance in the bottom half of the tenth with two of her 14 strikeouts. The Lady Bulldogs’ next batter caught a break, though, when second baseman Chelsea Swadley bobbled Alyssa McCormick’s ground ball.
“That was a routine ground ball and those come back to get you every time,” Purdy coach Lori Videmschek said.
It was the only break New Franklin needed.
Leadoff hitter Sarah Moreau hit an RBI double to left center scoring McCormick giving New Franklin the win.
Videmschek gave Moreau credit.
“That girl just got a hold of a good pitch,” she said. “She got a good pitch that was up a little bit and she drilled it.”
The Lady Eagles missed an opportunity to take the first lead of the game in the top of the tenth, stranding runners at second and third when Trisha Adler struck out.
Other fielding mistakes also cost the Lady Eagles. Leonard held the Lady Bulldogs to five hits, but her defense committed six errors, three in extra innings.
“(The errors) didn’t really have that much of an effect on us,” Leonard said. “They did some, but those are things we’ve got to overcome.”
Videmschek praised New Franklin’s pitcher, freshman Kayla Wies. Wies had 11 strike outs and held the Lady Eagles to two hits.
“She kept us off-balanced today with her change-up,” Videmschek said. “We adjusted and started doing a little bit better and getting some hits that we needed and that was big for us.
“It was whoever was going to make the mistake first or whoever was going to get the big hit first that was going to win the game, and that’s the way it went.”
—- Michael Jett