Mustangs ready to begin state march
NEWELL — Two years ago, Olivia Larsen watched as two Newell-Fonda softball players walked off the field here for the final time short of state.
The Mustangs suffered a stunning loss in regionals to St. Edmond in their first regional contest, marking the last games for Kate Christiansen and Emily Archer.
Larsen, now a senior, helped fourth-ranked (Class 1A) Newell-Fonda avoid that experience by sparking a sixth-inning rally in the regional final to defeat Ridge View and secure a second consecutive spot at Rogers Park.
“I was pretty nervous until the game finally got going,” Larsen said. “Towards the end of it I was thinking to myself let’s go, it’s time we have to start playing Mustang softball. It was not easy fighting back, but we did it and needed that challenge.
“We were all just cheering each other on and told all the girls that we had to stand at the (dugout) fence and cheer because the game was not over.”
The Mustangs (37-5 overall) will face Lynnville-Sully (26-8) in the state quarterfinals Monday on Diamond 2 at 11:30 a.m.
Back in 2017, Larsen was inside the circle for that regional game. She had no desire to let her classmates and teammates suffer the same result this past Monday night.
“I vividly remember that game because how the game ended was edgy and no one had know the calls and then the game was over,” Larsen admitted. “I did not want that any year again — especially my senior year.”
Newell-Fonda is the 1A leader in runs, doubles, triples, walks and steals, hitting a collective .407 with a .483 on-base this year. Larsen is a big reason for that, as the future Morningside University basketball player is hitting .420 with 56 steals, seven triples, 14 doubles and 38 RBI.
Sophomore Bailey Sievers leads the team with 65 hits and also has driven in 29 and stolen 28 bases, with Ella Larsen — a classmate of Sievers and Olivia’s sister — adding 57 hits, 15 doubles, four homers, 59 RBI and 19 steals.
Both Larsen sisters and Sievers, along with several other key members of the softball team, helped Newell-Fonda claim a state title in basketball this past winter. Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Courtney (Vaughn) Darrow was an assistant coach for basketball and is now in her first season as the head softball coach.
“They have earned everything they have accomplished due to their hard work and fight every single pitch, out and inning,” Darrow said. “They are hungry to do some more damage at state next week.”
Maggie Walker has driven in 54 runs and swiped 31 bases, with Megan Morenz adding 45 RBI and Emma Stewart 31.
Ella Larsen and Sievers have shared the pitching duties, with Larsen going 19-2 and Sievers 13-2. Larsen has struck out 106 on the year and Sievers 55.
This will be the final times suiting up as a Mustang for Olivia Larsen, Stewart, Camryn Wilken and Anna Tiefenthaler as the lone seniors.
“I don’t think it has hit me that I only have one more week in a blue Mustang jersey,” Larsen said. “But I am so excited to get this first game going and to be on the field.”