Record night for champion Knights
With the record already in Nicole Timmon’s possession, the ovation was more important than closing out the final chapter in the early morning hours of Saturday at the Rogers Sports Complex.
With a faithful throng of fans still in attendance at 1:18 a.m., Timmons and top-ranked Davenport Assumption put the finishing touches on a dominant season by pasting ninth-ranked Albia, 8-0, in the Class 3A state championship game on Buena Vista University Field.
Rain delays on Friday and a 16-inning 2A title game between Iowa City Regina and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Femont pushed the start of the 3A final back to 11:34 p.m, nearly 4 1/2 hours later than its scheduled start of 7:09 p.m.
The long wait didn’t seem to bother Timmons though, as the Knights’ all-state pitcher and Drake recruit fanned a 3A single-game state-tournament record 20 batters. Needing one more to record every out on a strikeout, Assumption head coach Ron Ferrill pulled her and inserted Hannah Kelley into the circle to get the final out.
Did Timmons want to finish it off? She says she was fine with how it played out.
“I kind of like how (Ferrill) does it. He’s really cool,” Timmons, who struck out 41 batters in three games in Fort Dodge, said after the Knights captured their 44th consecutive victory. “I’ve been waiting for this game all year long … so I focused really, really hard.”
Albia (30-9) notched just three hits, two of them from lead-off stick Hannah Isley. She went 8 for 9 with three home runs, two doubles and four RBI in the tournament.
But the Lady Dees weren’t able to muster much more against Timmons, who owned the strike zone with a riseball and change-up.
“She was at her best,” Albia head coach Larry Achenbach said of Timmons. “She had every pitch working and everything she threw was really close to the plate and made it really tough.”
Assumption (44-1), which was perfect against Iowa programs this season, erupted for all eight of its runs in the third inning. The Knights sent 12 batters to the plate and rattled off eight of their 11in the frame. Albia also helped out by committing a pair of errors.
“We had just one bad inning at the state tournament,” Achenbach said. “Other than that, I can’t complain about what we’ve done up here.”
Olivia Wardlow, Emma Valainis, Hannah Wislander and Emma Johnson all belted two hits for Assumption. Wislander plated a pair of runs in the third on a line-drive single to right field. Wardlow, Johnson and Anna Wohlers laced RBI singles as well.
Assumption outscored its foes 55-1 in the postseason, including 27-1 at the state tournament. It was just par for the course for a Knights’ team that blanked 30 of its 45 opponents.
“At the beginning of the season we were working really hard because we knew we had all the components together to be a great team,” Timmons, who finished the summer with 322 strikeouts, said. “Throughout the season it came together really well.”
Not surprisingly, Timmons was named the captain of the all-tournament team. She was joined by teammates Valainis, Nelson and Sophie Van Severen. Albia was represented by Isley and pitcher Jena Lawrence.
Other all-tournament team members included Katelyn Banning and Olivia Brecht of third- place finisher Center Point-Urbana, Libby Ryan and Sammy Moss of Mount Vernon, and Avery Terwilliger of Humboldt.
DAVENPORT Assumption 8, Albia 0
Albia 000 000 0–0 3 3
Assumption 008 000 0 — 8 11 1
Nicole Timmons and Emma Valainis. Jena Lawrence and Alex Beard. W — Timmons. L — Lawrence. RBI — DA: Hannah Wislander (2), Valainis, Olivia Wardlow, Anna Wohlers, Emma Johnson.