4A upset queens
Cinderella is outfitted in black and gold at the state softball tournament.
Two days after knocking off second-ranked West Delaware in a Class 3A quarterfinal, 10th-ranked and seventh-seeded Winterset pulled off its second straight upset yesterday morning, as the Huskies scored the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and beat eighth-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes, 2-1, in the semifinals on Iowa Central Field at Rogers Park.
The lowest seeded team remaining among all the finalists in the five classes, Winterset (16-7) will have to topple the reigning queens — top-ranked and defending state champion Carlisle — to claim its first crown since 2017.
Winterset and Carlisle are Raccoon River Conference rivals.
“This is really exciting, especially being the underdog coming in,” Thea Banning, Winterset’s sophomore pitcher who tossed a six-hitter with four strikeouts against DCG, said after the semifinal win. “But (seeds and rankings) don’t mean anything at this point. We’ve shown that we can come out against any team and prove them wrong.”
Winterset went 3-3 against state tournament qualifiers during the regular season, two of the losses coming against DCG and Carlisle. But head coach Steve Corkrean says the rugged schedule prepared his club for the postseason.
“Those types of games make us who we are,” he said. “One of our goals was to get to state, and once you make state then you concentrate on winning that first game.”
Winterset touched Fillies’ pitcher Lani Gannon for six hits, three of which were doubles. An extra base hit down the right field line by left-hander Natalie Drake in the fourth inning brought Riley Kious all the way around from first with what turned out to be the winning run.
And then Banning took over.The lanky right-hander worked out of trouble in the fourth and fifth, and retired the final eight batters she faced to send the Huskies into tonight’s championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Kruger Field.
DCG (20-10) stranded eight runners on base in the game, four of them in scoring position.
“Coming in, I knew they were going to hit the ball because we played them in the regular season,” Banning said. “So I knew I had to be strong and our defense had to be strong as well.”
Winterset jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opening frame courtesy of a one-out RBI double to right-center by Bridget Stover, who went 2 for 2 with a pair of intentional walks.
DCG knotted the contest at 1 in the second on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Riley Feeley. The Fillies had the bases filled when Banning wiggled out of trouble with an inning-ending strikeout.
Feeley had two hits for DCG. Banning also roped a double for Winterset.
Winterset 2, DC-Grimes 1
Winterset 100 100 0 — 2 6 2
DC-Grimes 010 000 0 — 1 6 1
Thea Banning and Bridget Stover. Lani Gannon and Molly Cooney. W — Banning. L — Gannon. Multiple hits–W: Stover; DCG: Riley Feeley. 2B–W: Stover, Banning, Natalie Drake. RBI–W: Stover, Drake; DCG: Feeley.