No. 4 AGWSR ousts Gaels
ACKLEY — The St. Edmond softball team has faced a handful of elite all-state pitchers this year.
Monday night in a Class 1A regional final, they might have taken on the best in Iowa in AGWSR’s Taryan Barrick.
Barrick tossed a no-hitter, striking out 15 to lead the fourth-ranked Cougars back to the state tournament with a 9-0 victory.
Entering the evening, the 10th-ranked Gaels (20-9 overall) were averaging under four strikeouts per game as a team. Barrick, though, entered posting almost 12 per contest for AGWSR (26-7).
“They are the fourth-ranked team in the state for a reason,” SEHS head coach Nick Clark said. “Barrick is very good. We gave them an opening in the first that they took advantage of. I’m proud of our girls because we fought for seven innings and we gave it everything.
“I know the scoreboard doesn’t show it, but I wouldn’t change a thing about this game.”
The Cougars put the first two runners on in the opening inning before St. Edmond made an out. Back-to-back doubles by Rachel Sicard and Josie Winterberg made it 3-0 when freshman Taylor Sperfslage launched a two-run homer.
“It was just a tough way to start,” Clark said. “We knew who we were going up against in Barrick and that first inning gave them all the confidence they needed. I thought Ella (Vratny) bounced back big after that and really did a great job against a tough, tough lineup.”
Vratny had three strikeouts and walked three batters, falling to 19-8 on the year. She sat AGWSR down in order in the second and kept them off the scoreboard in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Cougars added another run in the third and two more in the sixth, with the big punch coming on a Makenna Kuper two-run homer.
Barrick walked one batter and St. Edmond had just one ball leave the infield when Audrey Kolacia flied out to start the game. Jacque Oberg walked for the Gaels.
This was the final game for Kolacia, the lone senior on the roster. She reached in 20 consecutive games at one point this year via either hit or walk, ending the year with 32 hits, 24 runs and 12 stolen bases.
“Audrey was just the perfect leader,” Clark said. “Honestly, with just one senior last year, she kind of was a senior leader for the past two seasons. She was my leadoff hitter for two years and just a great person to be around.
“I’m really going to miss seeing how hard she would go after every ball in practice and the attitude she brought to the game every night.”
Barrick and the Cougars, who are making their fourth appearance at state, will be looking to duplicate their 1A title run in 2015. AGWSR also advanced to Rogers Park in 2013 in 2A and 2014.
The Cougars will open the state tournament on Monday at 1:30 p.m. against Janesville (26-11). The winner meets either Akron-Westfield (26-4) or New London (20-9) on Wednesday in the semifinals.
AGWSR 9, ST. EDMOND 0
St. Edmond 000 000 0 — 0 0 2
AGWSR 501 003 x — 9 8 0
WP–Taryan Barrick (25-5, 7 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 15 K, 1 BB). LP–Ella Vratny (19-8, 6 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 3 K, 3 BB). HR–A: Taylor Sperfslage, Makenna Kuper. 3B–A: Taryan Barrick. 2B–A: Rachel Sicard, Josie Winterberg. RBI–A: Makenna Kuper (2), Rachel Sicard (2), Josie Winterberg (2), Taylor Sperfslage (3).