Spartans repeat as 5A champs
For the second consecutive season, Pleasant Valley reigns atop the Class 5A state softball mountain.
The Spartans became the first school to repeat in the state’s largest class since West Des Moines Valley in 2007-08 with a 3-0 victory over third-ranked Indianola at Rogers Park Friday night.
Ellie Spelhaug hit a two-run, stand-up, inside-the-park homer and earned the win inside the circle, with fellow senior Alexia Lara shutting the Indians down over the final two innings.
Spelhaug scattered three hits over five innings with two strikeouts to improve to 24-2 on the year. The future Bradley University basketball signee won all three games this week as Pleasant Valley finished the season 36-7.
“I can’t even comprehend it right now,” said Spelhaug, who leaves on Monday to begin basketball workouts. “To repeat, knowing this was my last softball game ever with these girls and my little sister (Carli), that makes it so much more special.
“I didn’t want it to end any other way.”
Asked when the last time she connected on an inside-the-park homer, Spelhaug said “maybe in 10 (and under). But never without errors. I never expected that but I was going (home) as long as (Coach) Jose (Lara) was sending me.”
Sophia Lindquist had two hits and drove in a run, with Emily Wood also scoring once. Lara, who was named the Gatorade Player of the Year and is headed to Drake University, struck out four to earn the save.
Indianola’s (36-4) Sydney Sickels, who is headed to the University of Illinois, was masterful once more. Sickels finished with 10 strikeouts and three walks, ending the week with a 5A record 33 strikeouts, three walks and eight hits allowed.
“She had some wicked movement and speed behind it,” Spelhaug said of Sickels. “She is an amazing pitcher. Kudos to her because she is amazing; we just got a little bit of an edge late.”
PLEASANT VALLEY 3, INDIANOLA 0
Indianola 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
PV 000 030 — x 3 5 1
WP–Ellie Spelhaug (24-2, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB); LP–Sydney Sickels (26-2, 6 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 10 K, 3 BB).
HR–PV: Ellie Spelhaug. 2B–I: Morgan Bolten. RBI–PV: Ellie Spelhaug (2), Sophia Lindquist.