The sixth-ranked (NJCAA, Div. II) Iowa Central softball team accomplished their primary goal Saturday, splitting an ICCAC doubleheader with No. 9 Kirkwood.
By taking the opener, 2-1, the Tritons (49-9 overall, 22-4 in league) secured their third conference title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament. The Eagles (41-10, 19-7) soared in the second, earning a 13-2 victory in five innings.
"We focused on getting that first one and winning the league title and No. 1 seed," ICCC head coach Josh Sandin said. "That was our focus. We didn't play very well (in game two), but that was kind of expected after such a huge first game.
Messenger photo by Dale Wooten
North Sentral Kossuth graduate Rebekah Rolling slides on Saturday for Iowa Central against Kirkwood. For more photos, please visit CU at www.messengernews.net
"Losing never feels good, but when it comes after clinching the conference title, it feels a little better."
Corinne Frei, who will pitch at William Jewell College next season, tossed a one-hitter in the opener. She had a no-hitter going until Kristen Winter socked a double in the seventh. Frei (20-3) struck out 11 and walked just three, moving within five wins of becoming the program's all-time wins leader.
"Corinne was just on her game," Sandin said. "She's been pitching very well for us all year and this was another example of how strong she can be."
IOWA CENTRAL 2, KIRKWOOD 1
Kirkwood000 000 1 - 1 1 1
Iowa Central100 010 x - 2 8 0
Kelsie Campbell and Shelby Crist; Corinne Frei (W, 20-3) and Mackenzie VanDenBerg. HR - ICCC: Megan Risetter. 2B - K: Kristen Winter; ICCC: Bekah Rolling.
KIRKWOOD 13, IOWA CENTRAL 2 (5 inn.)
Kirkwood016 15 - 12 13 0
Iowa Central010 01 - 2 7 1
Campbell and Crist; Molly Cox (L, 8-3), Kasie Jensen, MacKenzie Siefken and Charissa Wright. HR - K: Haylee Krack (2). 2B - K: Nicole Fisher (2); ICCC: Brittany Madsen.
Megan Risetter, another William Jewell signee, added to her school-record home run total, driving the first pitch she saw over the fence in left for her 30th career homer. Iowa Central added the eventual game-winning run in the fifth after Mikaela Pruismann (Webster City)?pinch ran for Bekah Rolling (North Sentral Kossuth).
Pruismann stole second and third, coming around on a Jordan Sandquist single.
Rolling was a perfect 3-for-3 in the win, while Morgan Allee collected two hits. Allee, who will play at Indiana State University next year, now has 182 career hits, just six from tying Sam Waters for the all-time record.
Kirkwood came out firing in the second, plating six runs in the third and five more in the fifth. The Tritons had seven hits, but were unable to punch more than single runs in during the second and fifth frames. Brittany Madsen had a double to lead Iowa Central.
"We were a few inches away from some big-time hits (in the second)," Sandin said. "It just didn't happen for us. Credit Kirkwood, though, because they regrouped and really hit the ball well. (Kirkwood's) bats really made what Corinne did (in the opener) that much more impressive."
Iowa Central was forced to go without Hannah Koerperich, who fouled a ball off her foot and went to the hospital. Koerperich was slated to pitch the second contest. Sandquist also exited the second game early after an injury in center.
The Tritons will finish up their regular season by hosting Ellsworth on Monday. Region XI tournament action begins Friday at Rogers Park.
Contact Dana Becker at (515) 573-2141, or by email at email@example.com