GREENFIELD – Class 2A No. 4 Mount Ayr came out of the gate guns blazing Monday night, rolling to an 11-1 win over Nodaway Valley.
The Raiderettes led off the game with a single from Sam Stewart, who then stole second. From there, Addy Reynolds got on-base by way of an error to put two in scoring position.
Stewart and Reynolds both scored on passed balls, making the game 2-0 before an out was recorded. A Rachel Sobotka single scored Alexa Anderson and a fielders choice from Abigail Barnes made the score 4-0 with one out.
Channler Henle scored a run on another fielders choice before the final out of the inning was recorded, giving Mount Ayr a quick 5-0 lead before Nodaway Valley even put on a helmet.
The early lead after a 5-1 loss to Martensdale-St. Marys Friday night was a pressure off the back of the Raiderettes early on, said MA head coach Bret Ruggles.
“I think Martensdale we felt like we let that one go,” said Ruggles. “The girls felt terrible Friday night, you could see it. Even today during batting practice you could see it hanging a little bit. They really wanted to come up here and prove a point and I think they did. ... I really challenged their energy, ... they had better energy tonight.”
The runs continued as Mount Ayr poured it on, making it a 9-0 game midway through the second inning. Runs sprinkled in the third off a Sam Stewart solo homer and fifth inning off an error pushed the difference to 11, putting the game in a run-rule result.
Before the final out, Corinne Bond got on by a single and scored by a passed ball before a Madison Fry fly out ended the game.
Mount Ayr had multi-hit nights from Sam Stewart (2-for-4), Halsie Barnes (2-for-3) and Maddie Stewart (2-for-3). Rachel Sobotka had two RBIs.
Sam Stewart, Maddie Stewart and Reynolds each had two stolen bases.
Nodaway Valley, a small-ball oriented team that relies on its speed to put pressure on opposing defenses, was unable to make its style of play work against a reliable Mount Ayr team from top to bottom. Raiderettes head coach Bret Ruggles expected their style, and had the girls work to anticipate it, and outwork it.
“We knew coming in they were going to steal bases and they were going to be fast,” said Ruggles. “... The speed was always a critical thing for us tonight. I thought our speed was good tonight and we kind of matched them in that aspect.”
A trend Ruggles noticed from earlier in the season continued Monday night – Pitcher Addy Reynolds minimizing hard-hit balls.
“We noticed Addy Reynolds is not getting hit hard. She’s getting hit, just not getting hit hard,” said Ruggles. “We’re giving up these little dinkers, they’re going over the infield and just falling in front of us. We had our outfield up tonight, ... about three or four steps, ... we took care of us tonight. ... Flawless defense tonight, very happy.”
For Nodaway Valley, there has been hints of what the team is on its way to being early in the season.
Wins over Bedford, Coon Rapids, Orient-Macksburg and Southwest Valley have provided glimpses into what the team can do when its at its peak and when all cylinders are firing.
“(Assistant coach Brittany Martin) and I talk about this all the time. It’s going to click at the right moment,” said NV head coach Abbey Queck. “You hope that it happens this season, it might happen this season, it might happen the season after, y’know. With a young pitching staff, they get a few years under their belt and they feel better [going into games]. Our team I think needs to ride on a pitcher and it might be a few more years before this team clicks, but we see a lot of good moments.”
Monday night at home, Queck had the girls working true to the game plan to the very last out, trying to bunt runners over in a situation where they trailed big while also showingsome flashes of excellence.
“They do a good job of fighting to the finish,” said Queck. “We’ve had a couple of rocky games and this may be one of them, but one thing we learned out of this is we stayed together, worked together as a team and nobody got discouraged or down on themselves. This is such a game of failure. ... Sometimes things go your way and sometimes not.”
Reagan Weinheimer, McKynna Newbury and Whitney Lamb each had hits. Newbury’s hit was a double.
Jorja Holliday pitched one inning, striking out one with a walk. Whitney Lamb came on in relief after the first inning, allowing three hits across four innings pitched with one strikeout.
Against Mount Ayr, it’s no love lost for the opponents despite the loss, as Queck gives credit where due to a team that is a year removed from a state appearance.
“They hit the ball very well,” said Queck. “They’re a very well coached team, I think Ruggles does a very good job with infield, outfield, pitching, catching, hitting, all aspects of the game he does a very good and you can tell they’ve been coached by him for a long time.”
UP NEXT – Mount Ayr is in action against Bedford at home at 5:30 p.m. today (Tuesday). Nodaway Valley gets back into it Wednesday night at home against East Union at 7:30 p.m.
Mount Ayr 11, Nodaway
Valley 1 (5)
R H E
MA 541 01X — 11 9 1
NV 000 01X — 1 3 4
MA: Addy Reynolds 5IP 4K 1BB and Rachel Sobotka. NV: Jorja Holliday 1IP 1K 1BB, Whitney Lamb 4IP 1K and Aubrey Van Otterloo. W - Reynolds. L - Holliday. HR — MA: Sam Stewart. 3B — None. 2B – NV: McKynna Newbury. RBI — MA: Rachel Sobotka (2), Sam Stewart (1), Addy Reynolds (1), Abigail Barnes (1), Channler Henle (1). Multiple hits — MA: Barnes (2), Sam Stewart (2), Maddie Stewart (2).