The Waukee softball team fell short of the state tournament after an 8-3 loss to Johnston in Waukee. The Warriors started hot in the first inning, but fell victim to a four-run fourth inning by the Dragons.
Callie Feaker led off the game with a home run over the right field wall and Claire Dudek scored to put the Warriors up 2-0 but that was only enough to keep them in the lead until the second inning and only enough to keep them tied until the fourth.
Kaitlyn Menz, who came in to relieve Kylie Mickelson with no outs in the first inning, walked three Dragons in the fourth inning and gave up four runs on just two hits and an error. The inning ended with the Dragons leading the Warriors 6-2.
Schylir Rowen added one more run for the Warriors being batted in by Dudek in the fifth inning but the Warriors couldn’t stop the bleeding on defense giving up two more runs in the fifth inning which gave the Dragons their insurmountable 8-3 lead.
Going into the regional finals the Warriors and the Dragons had played three times earlier in the season with Johnston winning two of the meetings. Waukee coach Carrie Embree said the Warriors were trying to keep them off the bases this time around.
“If you can keep them off the bases, then they can’t run them like they no how to,” Embree said. She added that they were specifically trying to not allow extra base hits.
The Dragons had three doubles which were all leadoff doubles in the second, third and fifth innings.
Now at the end of their season, Embree said that the Warriors exceeded her expectations.
“We’re a real young group, and so they’ve worked hard and made adjustments and hopefully that will give them a little bit of momentum going into next season,” Embree said. “They learned a lot this year so hopefully next year they’ll come back and be ready to go.”
DES MOINES LINCOLN
The Waukee softball team defeated Des Moines Lincoln 11-5 in the Division 5A regional semifinals on July 13. The Warriors are now 3-0 this season against Des Moines Lincoln.
The Warriors, who played as the visitors once again, started strong with a four-run first inning.
Sophomore Taylor Luther hit a three-run homer over the right-field fence. Feaker, who led off the game with a single, and senior Mickelson scored on the home run and the Warriors took a quick 3-0 lead.
Luther was 2-for-3 in the game and had three RBIs and also had double in the seventh inning. Miranda Tiefenthaler scored in the first inning to give the Warriors an early 4-0 lead.
The Warriors put the Railsplitters away in the bottom of the first in three batters that included Mickelson’s only strikeout of the game.
Luther and Nicole Tennant scored two more runs for Waukee in the third inning to take a commanding 6-0 lead. The Railsplitters started to climb back into the game, however, with a three-run third inning.
Their third-inning rally was brought to a halt by two consecutive diving plays in the infield. Out number two came when the shortstop Dudek made a diving stop and flipped the ball to Feaker at second and out number three came when Feaker made a diving stop and flipped the ball to Dudek at second.
“What we’ve really been focusing on is, ‘Don’t let one ball go to the outfield without diving,’” Embree said. “You never know what pops up and exactly right there it saved us probably two runs eventually throughout the inning.”
With a 6-3 lead in the fourth inning, Menz came in to pitch in place of Mickelson after a few hits. Mickelson was still on the hook for one more run that scored that inning but Waukee escaped the inning with a 6-4 lead.
“They started to get timing of Kylie (Mickelson) a little bit so we wanted to give them a different look for pitching,” Embree said. “You through the second, third time through a lineup, they’re going to get the timing so we got them a different look and kind of stopped the bleeding a little bit.”
The score remained 6-4 until the seventh inning where Waukee extended its lead to 11-4. Luther, Tiefenthaler, Wilkinson, Rowen and Kelli Fogt scored runs in the seventh inning for Waukee.
The Railsplitters added one more home run in the bottom half of the inning, but Waukee retired the next two batters to end the game with an 11-5 win to secure its spot in the regional finals.