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Tigers fall short of state tournament in bounce-back season

Clint Cole - DCN:  Caitlyn Gruening (right) of A-D-M looks to the umpire for the call after sliding safely into second base against Clarke, Osceola in the regional finals Monday in Winterset.
Clint Cole - DCN: Caitlyn Gruening (right) of A-D-M looks to the umpire for the call after sliding safely into second base against Clarke, Osceola in the regional finals Monday in Winterset.
Clint Cole - DCN: A-D-M's Gabbie Glenn rounds the bases after her fifth inning homerun against Clarke, Osceola in the regional finals in Winterset Monday.Buy Photo
Clint Cole - DCN: A-D-M's Gabbie Glenn rounds the bases after her fifth inning homerun against Clarke, Osceola in the regional finals in Winterset Monday.

It was a turnaround season for the A-D-M softball team this year, but it all came to a screeching halt in the regional finals against Clarke, Osceola on Monday, one game short of the state tournament. The Tigers had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the sixth inning, but couldn’t hold on as they lost 4-3 on a walkoff hit in the bottom of the seventh inning.

A mixture of errors and base hits led to Clarke tying the game in the bottom of the seventh before scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to punch their ticket to the state tournament. After the game, the Tigers looked emotional as their coach gave them one last post-game speech for the season.

A-D-M coach Rick Dillinger said that it’s tough to face the team after the last loss of the season every year.

“You get a special bond with the kids,” Dillinger said. “Last time you’re going to see those seniors who have played so well all season… I’m a part of the kids. We made a big turnaround in one year, we had a chance to get to the state tournament and that’s all you ever want, is a chance.”

With a 1-0 lead in the top of the fifth, Gabbie Glenn stepped up to the plate and sent a fly ball down the right field line and fist pumped as she rounded first base and the ball cleared the right field fence for a solo homerun to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. They added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

A-D-M pitcher finished the season with the most strikeouts in the state in Class 3A and went into the game with the most strikeouts in the state in any class. She went into the game against Clarke with 325 strikeouts, six ahead of Rachel Smith, a junior from Exira-EHK.

Jacobsen also went into the game ranked fifth in Class 3A in doubles on the season with 14.

Last season, the Tigers only won four games all year long, but this season the Tigers won 25 games with Dillinger at the helm.

With things like this in mind, Dillinger still thinks that this season has been a success.

“It’s a big-time success,” Dillinger said. “I’m proud of the kids. Just because we didn’t get to the state tournament doesn’t mean we’re a failure, because we’re not. We can hold our head very proud when we walk out tonight.”

Clarke returns to the state tournament this season after losing in the championship game last year to Bondurant-Farrar.

The Tigers had five seniors on this year’s team including: Jessica Wyant, Gruening, Amanda Seiler, Hannah Tiffany and Jo Tigges.

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