SE Warren starts fast, advances
Score first, get ahead and stay ahead — it rolled quickly off the tongue of Southeast Warren sophomore catcher Bre Nolte Monday afternoon and, in theory, it sounds easy enough.
And yet, that’s exactly what the fifth-ranked Warhawks did in their Class 1A state quarterfinal against seventh-ranked Sigourney on Iowa Central Field at the Rogers Sports Complex.
Southeast Warren (29-2) scored three first-inning runs and never trailed en route to a 9-6 victory over the Savages.
The Warhawks advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal round against top-ranked Newell-Fonda (36-4), which blanked North Butler 2-0 in the quarterfinals.
“That jump was very good to take advantage of in the first inning,” Nolte, who went 2 for 3 with three runs scored and three RBIs, said. “So we had that lead and won the game.”
Trailing 9-1, Sigourney put together a last stand in the seventh inning. The Savages pushed five runs across courtesy of three hits and an error, and had two runners aboard when Southeast Warren center fielder Kaylee Bauer made a sliding catch for the final out on a blooper off the bat of Ava Fisch.
“We just got in our heads a little bit (in the seventh inning) instead of just relaxing and playing the game like we know how,” Nolte said.
In the state tournament field for the first time since 2009, Southeast Warren moved one step closer to the program’s first state title since 1968. The Warhawks rattled off eight hits and took advantage of four Sigourney errors to plate three unearned runs.
Jaycee Neer joined Nolte with two hits, including the game’s only extra-base knock — a first-inning double to left that scored a run. Neer drove in another run in the third with a line-drive single to center to give the Warhawks a 4-0 lead, and the cushion increased to 5-0 after four.
Sigourney, which also scratched out eight hits, got on the scoreboard in the fifth on an RBI ground ball off the bat of Kaylee Weber.
Southeast Warren put the game out of reach with a four-run sixth, as Nolte and Makayla Ruble laced back-to-back two-RBI singles off Savages’ freshman pitcher Carly Goodwin. Emma King and Kaylee Bauer, the Warhawks’ Nos. 8 and 9 hitters, ignited the surge with consecutive singles to open the frame.
Goodwin struck out seven and walked four in a losing effort, but said her team’s seventh-inning rally gives the Savages momentum entering Tuesday’s 11 a.m. consolation game against North Butler (20-6).
“Our team is known for never giving up and I think we really showed that,” she said. “They came in as the (higher-ranked) team and we played like we had nothing to lose, and in the seventh inning that really showed.”
Fisch and Madison Richard both roped a pair of hits for Sigourney and Goodwin was one of four Savages with one hit.
Southeast Warren pitcher Alivia Ruble fanned nine and walked six.
SOUTHEAST WARREN 9, SIGOURNEY 6
Sigourney 000 010 5 — 6 8 4
SE Warren 301 104 x — 9 8 1
Carly Goodwin and Kaylee Weber. Alivia Ruble and Bre Nolte. W — A. Ruble. L — Goodwin. Multiple hits — SIG: Ava Fisch, Madison Richard; SEW: Nolte, Jaycee Neer. 2B — SEW: Neer. RBI — SIG: Richard (2), Weber; SEW: Nolte (3), Neer (2), Makayla Ruble (2).