It was a long day Saturday for Mount Ayr, Lenox and Nodaway Valley softball as the three teams hit the field field for two games each in the annual John Stephens Softball Classic at Southwestern Community College.
Mount Ayr and Lenox were able to continue their hot start to the season, going 2-0 on the day. Nodaway Valley split, going 1-1.
Mount Ayr started off with the Raiderettes picking up a win over Sioux City East 5-0.
Coming off a game the day prior, the Raiderettes had an afternoon game to start play, but Mount Ayr head coach Bret Ruggles was a little unsure of how his team was going to bounce back with back-to-back days of play and two games on the Saturday schedule.
“You just don’t know how your girls are going to recover and get back here the next day,” said Ruggles. “We could have been tired. We had a long night last night. ... I thought we played really well.”
The Raiderettes jumped on Sioux City by bringing in a runner from second base, flexing its speed to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning and a Sam Stewart triple drove in two to push the lead further in the sixth inning.
Addy Reynolds followed Stewart by one hopping the wall in center, making it a 5-0 game in favor of Mount Ayr before a scoreless seventh to close it out.
Despite not initially wanting to ride out his ace Caroline McAlexander the whole game, Ruggles decided to do so anyway.
“(I decided in) the third inning. She came in and we said ‘this is it, it’s an evaluation period what do you want to do?’ She said her arm felt great,” said Ruggles. “The trainer gave her a couple of things to work on. ... If her arm feels good we’re going to ride that out as long as we can.”
McAlexander went the distance, striking out five and walking two. She allowed five hits.
In game two, the Raiderettes jumped on Red Oak from the start by scoring two in the first inning on RBI hits from Addy Reynolds and Abbigail Barnes.
A four-run fourth inning for Mount Ayr had the Raiderettes in control of the game at 6-3. Mount Ayr added to it, putting the game away on another triple from Stewart that drove in one. The triple set her up to score on an RBI single from Reynolds.
Zoey Larsen and Alexa Anderson pitched game two for Mount Ayr. Anderson struck out two and picked up the winning decision.
Stoaks, timely hitting propels Lenox to two wins
Lenox’s two wins were hard earned, keeping opponents off the scoreboard effectively due to its ace pitcher in TJ Stoaks.
Stoaks, across games against Sioux City East and Red Oak, limited opponents to 9 hits total and one run from each team. In 16 innings pitched she struck out 18, getting the winning decision in both games.
“She did a good job of moving pitches in and out and keeping the hitters off balance a little bit,” said head coach Mandy Stoaks. “Not everything was working up to par, but she did a good enough job of working both sides and keeping it out of the middle.”
The Tigers’ first game of the day against Sioux City East went to the eighth inning before the Tigers were able to get the go-ahead run off the legs of Brooklynn Ecklin.
Ecklin scored both runs in the game, going 2-for-2 with a stolen base in the win.
Sioux City East threatened in the eighth with the tying run on third, but a flyout and runner gunned down at the plate from the arm of McKinna Hogan ended the game with the Tigers at a 2-1 advantage.
Hogan’s defense was on display all day for Lenox as she made a switch from playing a corner outfield spot to center field. Fortunately for the Tigers it paid off in their favor.
“It was really good to see her make that play,” said Stoaks. “Typically she plays right (field) and we made the switch to put her in center today. She covered a lot of ground.”
In the second game the Lenox continued to keep it close, playing Red Oak to win again in extra innings for a 4-1 win.
Lenox picked up one in the third to even it up at 1-1 where it remained tied into the top of the eighth inning.
Hogan, Cassidy Nelson, Kayla Yzaguirre and Lauren Christensen scored runs to fuel a Lenox win. Caitlyn Maynes picked up two hits in the nine spot, going 2-4 for Lenox.
The Tigers skipper felt that the hits were there, but were finding the defense at the right time.
“We were hitting it right at people and were actually getting a hold of the ball OK. It was just going right to the defense and they’d make good plays on us,” said Stoaks.
NV split tournament
Nodaway Valley opened play with one of the earliest games Saturday, getting a 8:30 start time against Clarinda.
Hot off a 10-7 win over East Union the day prior, the bats came alive for the Wolverines in the second and third as NV was able to get two and three runs to give it a 5-0 advantage.
Clainda managed four in the fifth, but were unable to get the tying run across as the Wolverines escaped with a 5-4 victory.
Maddax DeVault, Whitney Lamb, Rose Lonsdale, Natalie Yonker and Erin Rhoads eached scored on their way to the win. Lonsdale finished the game 2-3 and Yonker finished 1-3 with two stolen bases.
In the scorebook, DeVault stood out the most to her head coach on her play not only at the dish, but in the field.
“Maddax was so pretty defensively,” said Wolverines head coach Carol Baudler. “She made every play that came to her and it was so smooth and accurate. It was fun to watch.”
DeVault finished the day 2-7 with a run, an RBI and a stolen base. She made zero errors as the Wolverines starting shortstop.
With the timing of the games overlapping with testing, Wolverines head coach Carol Baudler had to work the lineup to still be its best while missing several everyday starters.
“We’re missing four or five starters due to ACTs and injury, so I guess I hoped that we’d go out there and make plays that we’re capable of making,” said Baudler. “I was just hoping we’d do the best we could do.
The Wolverines ran into a ranked opponent in Atlantic for game two, losing 12-3 to Class 3A’s No. 8 team.
With their back against the wall and facing a run-rule, the Wolverines chipped away to avoid the run-rule against an Atlantic team that scored 11 before NV put its first run on the board.
The Wolverines broke through in the fourth, scoring Madison Long and Lonsdale on an RBI hit by Lamb and a sacrifice fly from Sophia Chafa.
Nodaway Valley plated another in the sixth inning after Yonker led off the inning with a double. The Wolverines got both Chafa and Long to second base after Yonker scored, but it was be the closest Nodaway Valley got to plating another run.
Yonker had a quality day at the plate in game two, going 3-4 with a double and the run scored.
UP NEXT – All three teams see action again today (Monday). Mount Ayr plays against Mormon Trail. Lenox hits the road facing Sidney. at 5:30 p.m. Nodaway Valley hosts Griswold for a 7:30 p.m. start.