Rally carries Winterset to finals

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla

Macy Johnson of Winterset scores against Oskaloosa during the Class 4A semifinals on Thursday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Macy Johnson of Winterset scores against Oskaloosa during the Class 4A semifinals on Thursday at Rogers Park. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

Execution and effort are staples of state softball tournament teams that stay on the winner’s side of the bracket.

A little luck never hurts, either.

Second-ranked Winterset seized an opportunity to rally in the bottom of the sixth inning, plating three runs to take down defending Class 4A champion Oskaloosa, 3-1, in a semifinal scorcher on Thursday at Rogers Park.

Danny Barker and Madison Berns delivered run-scoring singles in the comeback frame, which advanced the Huskies (34-7 overall) into Friday morning’s title contest against fellow Raccoon River Conference member Ballard. An error on a routine infield fly ball and a misplay on Barker’s single got the ball rolling for head coach Steve Corkrean’s top-seeded squad, though, before the clutch hits finished the job.

”The girls just stayed with it and didn’t panic,” Corkrean said. ”Our pitching and defense kept us in the game before the offense finally came around. But we win a lot of games that way — either by coming from behind or scoring late.”

Barker was the lone Husky to reach base twice via hit against Osky ace Alexis Groet, though she said, ”this was all about the team, not just me.”

”We had to find a way,” Barker said. ”We’re all very excited to (reach the championship game). It was tough against (Groet), but we took advantage of our opportunities, which is what it’s all about up here.”

Winterset’s Sophie Stover (28-5) allowed only three hits and a second-inning run to the fifth-ranked Indians (30-13). She credited the Husky defense, which didn’t commit a single error behind her, adding ”that was the difference.”

”It feels great,” Stover said. ”Our defense was so clutch. We’ve been waiting and working all year for an opportunity like this.”

Groet (23-8) struck out 10 and surrendered just four hits herself. Meghan Moorman had an RBI double for Oskaloosa, which has been at state to conclude three of the last four seasons.

”We can’t wait for the finals,” Berns said. We’re ready and we’ll have fun with it. This has been an amazing experience so far, and we want to finish (with a title on Friday).”

Winterset’s title tilt is at 10:10 a.m. The Indians square off with Charles City (33-7) for third place in 4A at 9:30 a.m. Friday on Diamond 2.

WINTERSET 3, OSKALOOSA 1

Oskaloosa 010 000 0 — 1 3 2

Winterset 000 003 x — 3 4 0

WP–Sophie Stover (28-5); LP–Alexis Groet (23-8). 2B–O: Maddie Haines, Anna Jones, Meghan Moorman. SB–O: Josie Bunnell; W: Macy Johnson.