OSCEOLA — Murray softball coach Danny Jensen knew how good Colfax-Mingo’s bats were at the top of the lineup, but he may have underestimated just how much damage they could do.
Murray’s leap for state glory got shut down in a hurry Monday as Class 1A 11th-ranked Colfax-Mingo scattered hits all over Osceola’s Terri Benson Memorial Field to the 10th-ranked Murray Mustangs 13-2 to win Class 1A Region 8 and advance on to Fort Dodge.
There, the Tiger Hawks (25-11) will be the five seed and will open up postseason play against fourth-seeded Westwood (29-10).
The loss ended an 11-game winning streak for Murray.
“It’s pretty depressing. We had such a great year,” Jensen said. “Right now it’s hard to concentrate on the (28-6) season.”
The Lady Mustangs fell in a hole right away when the Tiger Hawks started the game with consecutive hits, and then Colfax-Mingo’s de-facto slugger Amy Russell hit a no-doubt blast over the fence in center field for a 3-0 lead.
“After the first inning on that three-run homer, seemed like it perhaps ignited them and deflated us a bit,” Jensen said.
Russell was well on her way to six RBIs and a three-hit pitching performance that gave the Tiger Hawks their first trip to state since 2001, and denied the Lady Mustangs their first such trip since 2005.
Colfax-Mingo’s number one hitter, Ries WIlson, and its second hitter, Alivia Haley, were persistent threats, bashing seven hits and scoring six runs between the two of them.
Walks issued to the lower part of the Colfax-Mingo lineup by relief pitcher Breianna Klein aided the Tiger Hawks in adding on runs late.
“We didn’t get pristine pitching. You’ve got to have pristine pitching. The top five in that lineup is unbelievable,” Jensen said. “Then we walked a couple at the bottom of the lineup in front of them in later innings and that really hurt.”
Murray answered Colfax-Mingo’s three-run first with one run of its own to secure some confidence in the bottom half of the first.
Hailey Chew reached by being hit by a pitch, zoomed to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a Zadie Hatfield grounder, and scored on Klein’s hard-hit grounder to Colfax-Mingo right fielder Braedynn Rawlins, who fired into first to get the out. Chew scored, but that heads up play kept Murray hitless in the first.
Colfax-Mingo added three in the fourth with an RBI double off the fence by Alivia Haley and a two-run double down the right field line to extend the lead to 6-1.
Murray remained without a hit until the fifth inning, which it trailed 8-1 heading into, when Chew’s sharp single down the left field line scored Kendra Boles. Murray shot itself in the foot however, when Alyssa Martin tried to go from first to third on the play, where left fielder MacKensie Brown gunned her down to get the first out of the inning. Chew was then stranded on the base paths.
Colfax-Mingo stayed on the offensive throughout the evening, and added four scores in the seventh. The Tiger Hawks scored in each inning but the second and third.
Brandi Gilbert doubled in the sixth, her final high school at-bat, but was not advanced past that point.
“They were clearly the better offensive team tonight by a mile,” Jensen said. “I just thought they attacked us better than we attacked them.”
Murray loses seniors Maeci Baumfalk, Meghan Gould, both of whom were staples of the middle infield for the Lady Mustangs, and all-state catcher Brandi Gilbert.
“The three seniors are certainly going to be missed,” Jensen said.
“Brandi’s leadership is unbelievable, we’re just going to have to find another one between now and next year,” Jensen said. Brandi’s been doing it for two years and has done a great job.”
Murray finishes its season 28-6, the Bluegrass Conference champions, but a game short of Fort Dodge.
Colfax-Mingo 13, Murray 2
R H E
C-M 300 321 4 — 13 12 1
Murr 100 010 0 — 2 3 3
C-M: Amy Russell 3K 4BB 1HBP and Chelsea Russell. Murr: Kayla Wookey 4K 2BB, Bre Klein (4) 5K 7BB, Wookey (7) 1K 0BB. W — Russell (17-4). L— Wookey (16-4). HR — C-M: Russell 1. 3B — None . 2B — C-M: Alivia Haley 2, Colbee Cunningham 1, Delaney Underwood 1. Murr: Brandi Gilbert 1. RBI — C-M: Russell 6, Delaney Underwood 2, Alivia Haley 1, Rhiannon Haley 1. Murr: Klein 1, Hailey Chew 1. Multiple hitters — C-M: Alivia Haley 4, Ries Wilson 3, Russell 2.