Assumption does it again
One through nine in the order, Davenport Assumption’s potent lineup is already an embarrassment of riches.
Throw in one of the state’s premier pitchers, and it’s not hard to figure out why the Knights entered the state tournament as the prohibitive favorite to win the Class 3A state title.
Now they’re only one win away.
Top-ranked Assumption continued to steamroll through the bracket on Diamond 2 on Thursday afternoon with 14 hits and another pitching gem from Drake University recruit Nicole Timmons in a 9-1 rout of seventh-ranked Center Point-Urbana in the semifinal round.
The 3A state runner-up a season ago, Assumption (43-1) will take a 43-game winning streak into this evening’s 7:09 p.m. championship game where it will face ninth-ranked Albia (30-8) on Buena Vista University Field. CPU (30-11) will square off against No. 8 Mount Vernon (29-16) in the third-place game today at 5:30 p.m. back on Diamond 2.
Seven different Knights had at least one hit and nine players touched home plate. No. 7 hitter Lea Nelson was unconscious, as she went 4 for 4 with a double, run scored and RBI.
“I just had a lot of confidence in myself,” Nelson, a .459 hitter on the season, said. “I
went up and every time the ball came over the plate I knew I could hit it and hit it hard.” Nicole Yoder put together a 2 for 4 performance with a RBI right behind Nelson. The lower part of the Assumption order tormented Stormin’ Pointers’ starting pitcher
Bailey Smith and reliever Natalea Cook all afternoon. The Nos. 6-9 hitters were a combined 9 for 16.
“Because I’ve got her down towards the tail end, a lot of people forget Yoder has been one of our better hitters for two years,” Assumption head coach Ron Ferrill said. “As far as Lea goes, she had the game of her life and I hope she can keep that going.”
Assumption, which has outscored its postseason opponents 38-1, put up one or multiple runs in each of the first six innings. A RBI double by Nelson to deep left field made it 3-1 in the third and several pitches later she took home on a delayed steal to make it 4-1.
But CPU was its own worse enemy, particularly early on. The Pointers committed five errors on the infield in the initial four innings and they led to four unearned runs.
“Five errors, you’re not going to pull out a victory against Davenport Assumption, it’s just not going to happen,” CPU head coach Don Vanourney said.
Carlie Sammon added a two-RBI double in the sixth for Assumption. She finished with a pair of hits, as did Hannah Kelley and Hannah Wislander.
CPU plated its only run in the first inning on a RBI ground ball off the bat of Taylor Henderson. It ended a string of seven consecutive shutouts for Assumption.
Timmons took over from there. The right-hander retired 14 of the final 15 batters she faced and collected 10 strikeouts before handing the ball off to Kelley in the sixth. She allowed just two hits and surpassed 300 strikeouts on the season.
“She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen all year,” CPU senior Katelyn Banning said of Timmons. “She moves it around quite a lot and kept us off balance. She did what she had to do to keep us off balance.”
Banning collected one of the Pointers’ three hits. Her liner into right-center in the sixth inning was one of only three balls that left the infield. Claire Chandler had the team’s other two hits, both singles on the dirt.
This marked the third time the two schools have met at girls’ state tournaments this school year. CPU beat Assumption in a 3A state basketball quarterfinal, while the Knights got the better of the rivalry in the 1A state soccer final.
Now Assumption has a chance to add softball gold to its haul.
“We’re excited to keep going,” Nelson said. “We really want this.”
Banning says CPU will be able to rebound as it plays for bronze.
“We’ll flush it by the morning,” she said. “We came into this one really having nothing to
Assumption 9, CP-Urbana 1 Class 3A State Semifinal
At Rogers Sports Complex Thursday
Assumption 112 113 0 — 9 14 1
Nicole Timmons, Hannah Kelley (6) and Emma Valainis. Bailey Smith, Natalea Cook (4), Smith (6) and Claire Holtz. 2B — DA: Carlie Sammon, Lea Nelson. RBI — DA: Sammon (2), Kelley, Nelson, Hannah Wislander, Nicole Yoder.