Tritons explode for 31 runs in home sweep

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Jayda Long of Iowa Central pitches against Northeast on Wednesday at Rogers park

The Iowa Central softball team suffered a demoralizing sweep to close out the March portion of their schedule.

April has been a completely different story for the resilient Tritons.

Instead of buckling and letting two shutout losses to No. 11 (NJCAA Div. II) DMACC create a downward spiral, head coach Bo Tjebben’s squad has responded in a big way. Iowa Central pushed its win streak to eight games on Wednesday with a pair of dominant victories over Northeast Community College at Rogers Park.

Scores were 22-1 and 9-4 in favor of the Tritons, who are now 27-11 overall and 10-2 in the ICCAC.

Tjebben admitted Iowa Central was “at kind of a crossroads” after being blanked twice by the Bears on their home field. Since that afternoon, the Tritons are 8-0 and have outscored four conference opponents, 103-12.

“We were pretty down after that DMACC series,” Tjebben admitted. “We made some uncharacteristic mistakes and just didn’t execute the way we needed to. But softball is a sport of failure…it’s all about how you respond to it. Our kids learned from it and really rallied around each other, which has been great to see.

“I’m proud of them. This is a fun group that works hard and well together. We have some big tests coming up, but it’s nice to build some (recent) momentum again.”

Freshman Jayda Long, a former Southeast Polk all-stater, continued her torrid stretch by going 5-for-6 with two home runs, five runs scored and six RBI on Wednesday. Long pushed her average above .460 for the season in the process. She now has seven home runs and 45 RBI in 38 games.

Long also earned the win from the pitcher’s circle in the opener, improving to 12-4 on the year.

“Jayda is such a coachable young woman,” Tjebben said. “She really sets the tone for us and has been incredibly solid.

“When we were recruiting her, one of the first questions she asked was if we planned on using her as a pitcher only. We knew the value she’d bring to our offense, so we said absolutely not. She’s been really good (in both roles) this season. She’s always smiling and having fun, but always competing.”

Iowa Central plated 17 runs in the third innning to put the first tilt away early. Tobi Topp, Breanna Nolte and Calli Schnell all hit home runs, with Topp and Schnell both driving in four. Schnell and Carly Ryan scored three times.

Kennedy Palmer went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs and two RBI.

The nightcap was more of the same. In addition to Long’s pair of homers, Palmer was 2-for-4 and drove in two. Topp went deep again as well.

Iowa Central now hits the road to face Hawkeye on Saturday in Hudson, followed by a trip to Cedar Rapids and a date with No. 9 Kirkwood.

“That will be another big test,” Tjebben said. “Kirkwood and DMACC are always right there at the top, but I truly believe we can be also if we play our game and show consistency at the plate and in the field.

“We had a good talk after the DMACC series about what it takes to reach that next level, so I’m looking forward to this weekend and seeing how we respond.”


Northeast 100 00 — 1 4 3

Iowa Central 14(17) 0x — 22 13 0

WP–Jayda Long. 2B–ICCC: Kennedy Palmer, Sydney Wilson, Kaylee Cary. HR–ICCC: Tobi Topp, Breanna Nolte, Calli Schnell. SB–ICCC: Kaylee Cary 2, Kennedy Palmer, Carly Ryan, Morgan Weeks.


Northeast 002 200 0 — 4 9 1

Iowa Central 130 203 x — 9 13 1

WP–Abagail Winter. 2B–ICCC: Kennedy Palmer. HR–ICCC: Jayda Long 2, Tobi Topp. SB–ICCC: Jayda Long, Calli Schnell.


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