After a dominating win in Eldora on Monday, South Tama's softball team hung tough with NICL foe BCLUW through five innings.
The Trojans couldn't muster enough offense to hang with the Comets, who took control of the game in the sixth inning. A three-run sixth inning for BCLUW helped propel the Comets to a 5-1 victory over South Tama.
"We just couldn't come up with timely hitting and they did," head coach Chelsea Ahrens said. "They got three hits in a row to score those three runs. They executed on offense like they were supposed to do. They came up with timely hitting and we didn't have it."
South Tama’s Riley Craun, left, scoops up a bunt in front of teammates Dani Stubbs and Trisha Walz, before throwing it down to first base for the out. STC hung close to BCLUW for five innings, but lost 5-1.
With two quick outs, STC was about to shut BCLUW down during the sixth inning. Then the Comets hit three-consecutive singles and scored two runs. After an STC error, the third run came across home plate.
South Tama didn't allow a hit until the Comets' lead-off batter in the third inning hit a single. She stole second base and scored later in the inning. Their run in the fourth inning came after a walk and stolen base. A fielder's choice gave the Comets their second run.
"They are good at taking the extra bases and frustrating teams," Ahrens said. "I could tell at times we were frustrated, but we shouldn't have been because they came up with hits when they had runners on base."
South Tama led the game 1-0 early. STC's first two batters of the game were out, but Jenn Maus hit a single to start the offense. Samantha Holtz moved Maus around with a single. Jade Rohach followed Holtz with an RBI single, scoring Maus and giving STC a 1-0 lead. After the first inning, STC struggled to find much offense.
However, the Trojans' offense was in full force on Monday at South Hardin. They won 16-2 and swept South Hardin this season.
"It was a great win last night," Ahrens said. "We had a lot of hits last night. I think Sam Holtz had three hits and Jade had four hits. Sam had five RBIs. We just came through and hit the ball like we are capable of doing. I knew we could do it. We also didn't have any errors.
"I was kind of worried going into the game," she said. "We only beat South Hardin 4-2 before and it was their last home game and their senior night. I thought they would think this was their last chance to win, so I was worried. But the girls responded and came out strong."
South Tama had a chance to run-rule South Hardin after five innings, as it led 11-1. But South Hardin scored one run in the fifth inning and forced the game to seven innings. South Tama scored five more in the seventh inning.
"On Saturday, we had that great win and then we almost had another great win," Ahrens said. "I could tell the girls knew they should have won the second game. So they responded Monday and knew they were going to get another win."
South Tama played in the Marshalltown Tournament last weekend and finished 1-3 against good competition. STC lost to Marshalltown, 9-1, and Bondurant-Farrar, 18-1, on Friday. On Saturday, STC beat Oskaloosa 2-0 before falling to Marion, 6-5, in eight innings.
"Against Oskaloosa, we had four errors, but fortunately everything they hit, went right at us," Ahrens said. "Tori Appelgate had some great catches in right field. I think she ended up with five catches. She made a shoestring catch to end the game with a runner on base.
"I've never beaten Oskaloosa," she said. "I've never come close to beating Oskaloosa. Maybe they were still a bit asleep in the morning. They were in our conference last year and we got smoked by them all of the time. That gave the girls a lot of confidence."
South Tama led Marion 3-0 after the first inning. The game was tied 3-3 heading into the fifth inning. Each team scored once in the fifth and seventh innings as they went to international tiebreaker rules, where each team starts an inning with the previous batter at second base. That rule went into effect in the seventh inning, because of time.
Both teams scored in the seventh, but STC was unable to score in the eighth inning. The Trojans nearly shut Marion down in the eighth, but couldn't get the final out.
"In the second game, we made a lot of costly errors in the seventh inning," Ahrens said. "I thought Sam did nice job in the second game. She pitched the first four innings and kept us in it.
"In the bottom of the eighth inning, they had bases loaded and we almost got out of it," she said. "With two outs, there was a short pop up in front of Hailee. She dove and almost had it, so that was a tough way to end it."
South Tama plays in the Grinnell Tournament on Saturday. STC will play its postseason opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Monroe against PCM.