Raiders capture 3A state crown

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Williamsburg celebrate after beating Davenport Assumptions during 3A championship on Friday at Rogers Park in Fort Dodge

There were a lot of heartbreaking moments along Williamsburg’s path to a state softball championship.

The adversity and uncertainty only made Friday’s breakthrough victory over traditional power Davenport Assumption all the more meaningful.

Years of frustration turned to elation on Kruger Seeds Field at Rogers Park, as the program celebrated its first-ever title with a 4-0 win over the Knights. The top-seeded Raiders left no doubt with an emphatic performance, taking the final step to the top of the mountain after three previous semifinal appearances ended consecutively in one form of heartache or another.

“I think about not just all of the memories and moments from this season, but a lot of former (Williamsburg) teams and players who weren’t able to experience this,” said Adam C. Berte, a former Twin River Valley standout athlete and Iowa Central Community College baseball team member. “And then you start to reflect on your own time as both a coach and player. It’s definitely a whirlwind of emotions for me, given the time I spent growing up (in the area and around Fort Dodge).

“I learned a lifetime of lessons playing for Coach (Rick) Pederson (and the Tritons; Berte was on the 2006 NJCAA national-qualifying squad). So much of what he taught us both on and off the field is still with me and a part of this program today.”

Berte, a native of Livermore, was a four-time all-state baseball selection. He graduated from TRV in 2004.

Second-seeded Assumption (34-7 overall) had been a long-time barrier not just for the Raiders (36-9), but the rest of the 3A field. The Knights were at Rogers Park for the eighth consecutive summer this week, and in search of their fifth championship during that stretch.

Assumption eliminated Williamsburg in the semis here a year ago, 1-0, and also topped the Raiders in the 2020 semifinals.

“This is amazing — everything I’ve been dreaming about since I was a little girl,” said senior catcher Jenna Thurm, the all-tournament team captain. “I love these girls so much.”

The Raiders, who scored in the first inning in each of the three games at state this week, plated two immediate runs to take some of the pressure off. Thurm drove in runs in both the first and third frames, as Williamsburg built a 4-0 advantage and never looked back.

Senior ace Peyton Driscoll (20-3) did the rest. The right-handed fireballer fired a five-hit shutout, weaving in and out of trouble late to slam the door shut and excite an already-raucous Raider fanbase.

Driscoll, a Kirkwood Community College recruit, has started in the circle during all four state tourney trips.

“I trusted my teammates…they made the plays (defensively),” said Driscoll, who only struck out one batter. “We’ve put so much time and work in through the years to get to this point. This wasn’t just a game for us — it was for all of Williamsburg softball and our entire community.

“It feels great to finally do it. We wanted those pink (championship) shirts so bad.”

Assumption claimed gold here in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. The Knights struggled to cash in on their opportunities Friday, stranding eight baserunners — including coming up empty in both the sixth and seventh when they had runners on first and second with no one out.

“I’m still super proud of our team for being in (the championship round) and getting a chance to play one last time together,” Knight senior Helen Sons said. “It means so much to me and (the seniors) especially.”

Sons then paused and teared up.

“They’re my family.”

Elle Ridgeway — another Williamsburg senior and a standout slugger — added, “this feels fantastic.”

“I’m just super excited to be able to share this moment with my teammates and all of Williamsburg,” Ridgeway said.


Assumption 000 000 0 — 0 5 1

Williamsburg 202 000 x — 4 5 1

WP–Peyton Driscoll (20-3; 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K); LP–Leah Maro (19-3; 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). 2B–DA: Abby Odean; W: Taylor Pitlick, Elle Ridgeway, Rylie Metz. SB–W: Shannon Finn, Alley Gorsh, Taylor Sanchez.


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