After a tough loss to Grundy Center last Tuesday, the South Tama softball team was determined to beat rival Grinnell the next day.
The Trojans did exactly that. They played a rollercoaster of a game May 30, but found themselves on top at the end, beating the Tigers 8-6.
"It was a great night," heac coach Chelsea Ahrens said. "We got up, then we got down for a while and then we came back and won the game. It's always great to win against Grinnell. It was great to get that first win."
South Tama senior Jenn Maus pitches a ball Friday night at East Marshall. The Trojans lost the game 11-1 to the No. 6-ranked squad in Class 3A. South Tama beat Grinnell 8-6 at home last Wednesday.
South Tama lost its first three games before defeating Grinnell. Against the Tigers, STC jumped out to an early lead. Tori Appelgate hit a single as the second batter in the first inning. Two batters later, Samantha Holtz hit an RBI double to score Appelgate.
Leadoff batter Riley Craun reached first on an error to start the bottom of the third inning. Craun proceeded to steal second base. Appelgate hit a sacrifice bunt, advancing Craun, before Jenn Maus hit an RBI single to score Craun, giving STC a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Grinnell responded in the fourth and fifth innings. The Tigers scored two runs in the fourth inning. Both runners who scored were walked to reach base. In the fifth inning, the Tigers' first three batters scored, giving Grinnell a 5-2 lead after the top of the inning.
South Tama would answer back with a big rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Madison Baack, Craun, Appelgate and Maus started the inning and all reached base on a single, double and two errors. Appelgate hit an RBI to score Baack before Maus' two-RBI double scored Craun and Appelgate.
Jade Rohach sent Maus home with an RBI single before stealing second base. Hailee Weiss hit a double that scored Rohach. Weiss later scored on an RBI from Dani Stubbs. STC led 8-5 after the fifth inning.
Grinnell scored once in the top of the seventh inning, but left two runners stranded as South Tama ended the game.
"We did some things we shouldn't have on defense," Ahrens said. "We are still booting the ball around a bit on defense, but we hit the ball really well.
"We had Jenn back," she said. "She went out there and threw strikes. That's all we can ask of her. The defense backed her up at times. It was great to have everybody back and we're starting to feel our groove."
On Friday, the Trojans had a brief lead at East Marshall, but it didn't last long as the No. 6-ranked team in Class 3A displayed its power. Appelgate hit a single in the top of the first inning and she reached home on an RBI from Holtz.
East Marshall responded with three runs later that inning. The Mustangs hit their first of four home runs in the inning, scoring all three runs on the home run. They hit a solo home run in the second inning. In the fourth inning, the Mustangs hit back-to-back home runs, the first of which was a grand slam. They went on to win 11-1 in five innings.
"Tonight, it might not have felt like we've been improving," Ahrens said Friday. "That's a good ball club that we played tonight. They are sixth-ranked for a reason. They are a good team with good pitchers. They just had a great night tonight. The ball was flying off of the bat for them."
The Trojans will be back at home Friday when they host South Hardin. The junior varsity game starts at 6 p.m. with the varsity contest at 7:30 p.m.
"We don't want it to be an up-and-down roller coaster ride of a season," Ahrens said. "We want to be building toward the end of the season. We're slowing building and getting better."