Tennant delivers for ADM
Ashley Tennant has never been so happy not to draw a walk. It’s a big reason why she and her ADM teammates are one win away from a Class 4A state championship.
Locked in a 6-6 game in the bottom of the sixth inning with first base open, Newton opted to pitch to the Tigers’ senior slugger and she made them pay dearly yesterday on Diamond 2 at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.
After a slew of hammered foul balls off to the left, Tennant timed a Peyton Maher offering perfectly and blasted it over the fence in left-center for a three-run home run, her 15th of the season, that gave second-ranked ADM the breathing room it needed to knock off 10th-ranked Newton, 9-8, in a wild state semifinal.
The Cardinals answered with two runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run at second, but Mackensie Brown was thrown out attempting to steal third to end the contest.
Tennant, the lone senior on a team loaded with underclassmen, has 20 career dingers, the most recent one her favorite for obvious reasons.
“Throughout the season I’ve had a lot of people walk me, but I don’t know if (Newton) knew about my home runs,” Tennant said. “I thought there were going to walk me, but I’m happy they threw to me.”
ADM (35-7) will face unranked Des Moines Hoover for the crown tomorrow at 5:45 p.m. It’s the first trip to the finals for the Tigers since 1995, but head coach Rick Dillinger will be able to provide plenty of insight. He led North Polk to three state championships in 2000, 2006 and 2008.
“It’s not new, but every one of them is special,” Dillinger said. “We’re excited to be in the final game.”
The semifinal had plenty of everything. The teams combined for 23 hits, five of them for extra bases, and each squad went yard. Brown belted a solo home run to center in the fifth inning for Newton (25-8), which will play 15th-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the third-place game tomorrow at 4:45 p.m. Brown went 3 for 4 at the dish with two RBIs and she scored three runs.
Emily Hlas joined Tennant with three RBIs for the Tigers. The No. 7 hitter lined a two-run double into the gap in left-center in the fifth to knot the game at 5 and she scored moments later on a Emily Kay base hit to make it 6-5 ADM.
“It was intense, but a lot of fun,” Emily Hlas said. “We are always getting after it no matter what the score is. We never give up.”
A bases loaded walk to Newton’s Mackenzie Johnson in the sixth brought the teams back to even at 6, setting the stage for Tennant in the bottom of the frame.
ADM opted to intentionally walk Newton lead-off hitter and Drake recruit Emily Valtman three times.
Kennedy Leiker went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for Newton, while Johnson and Audrey Lucas had two hits each. Harlie Durr plated two runs on a fourth-inning double.
The Cardinals rattled off 13 hits off ADM hurler Abbie Hlas, but they also left 12 runners stranded on base, nine of them in scoring position. Abbie Hlas walked eight and struck out one.
ADM 9, Newton 8
Newton 000 321 2–8 13 1
Peyton Maher and Kennedy Leiker. Abbie Hlas and Ashley Tennant. W–A. Hlas. L — Maher. 2B–NEW: Taylor Ryan, Harlie Durr; ADM: Emily Hlas. HR–NEW: Mackensie Brown; ADM: Tennant. Multiple hits–NEW: Brown (3), Ke. Leiker (3), Audrey Lucas, Mackenzie Johnson; ADM: Tennant, Sierra Wyant, Emily Kay. RBI–NEW: Brown (2), Durr (2), Ke. Leiker (2), Maher, Johnson; ADM: Tennant (3), E. Hlas (3), Kay (2), Morgan Meyer.