June 28, 2022

Successful senior night, fruitful future

AFTON – Eighth grader Sidney Staver’s single, which drove in senior Aubrey Hansen in the bottom of the seventh, lifted East Union (15-7, 4-4 Pride of Iowa) over Melcher-Dallas (11-9, 5-4 Bluegrass) in walk-off fashion, 8-7, Monday evening.

“It was exciting, senior day and everything,” coach Todd Verwers said. “Really nothing went our way the first four innings. It was pretty bad, we weren’t making plays, we were making pitches but not plays.”

The Eagles overcame a 6-2 deficit in the victory.

Noelle McKnight was the lone Eagle with a multi-run performance with three of the eight Eagle runs in the win.

“We didn’t have command of the strike zone as batters,” Verwers said. “We were swinging at things we shouldn’t have. Nothing was fluid in the first four innings.”

Avery Staver and Sara Collins both logged two RBIs in the win.

Kaylin Lack, Staver, Collins, Eva Sobotka and Hansen had one double each. Collins got the starting nod for EU in the circle. Collins struck out five Saints, allowed six hits, gave up seven ones and only one of which were earned.

Melcher-Dallas led 6-3 in the fifth inning and the Eagles started to claw out of that deficit with a Collins hit through the gaps which brought home Staver and Kaitlyn Mitchell. Eighth grader Haley Willett pinch ran for Collins and scored when SWCC signee Mallory Raney drove her home.

Neither team added a run in the sixth inning. The Saints added a tally in the top half of the seventh.

“Putting balls in to play helped us a little bit,” Verwers said. “A couple hits drop in for us and it’s a successful senior night instead of one where they might not be very happy afterwards.”

The bottom of the seventh was full of excitement, even though it started with an out.

“Sara grounded out, a hard hit line drive groundball to shortstop to get the out there,” Verwers said. “Then, Mallory got walked and we didn’t steal her on that. We waited two or three pitches. Aubrey got a hit to get the tying run in and Sidney Staver got the RBI.”

“It was the bottom part of our lineup that came through for us,” Verwers added.

Hansen was 12-of-46, .261, before her hit on Monday.

“I’ve kind of had a rough season batting,” Hansen said. “Getting up there I was a little nervous. I know how to stay disciplined in the box. I kind of pulled that pitch hard and I was like ‘There’s no way that’s fair!’ Coach already gave me the sign and I was already slowing down and I knew I had to pick it back up. Once Sid hit that I was balls to the wall all the way home.”

Staver, who was 7-for-28, .250, and four RBIs on the season had her fifth of the season in the win.

“It was a really rough night batting for me,” Staver said of her 1-for-4 plate performance. “I popped up an infield fly every single one. I honestly thought that last one was also going to get caught. It was really exciting that it didn’t get caught, I was really happy about that.”

Up next

East Union faced Southwest Valley on Tuesday and won 9-0. McKnight set a new school record with her 94th career stolen base. The prior record, 90, was held by Mariah Kruse who hung up her cleats in 2011.

Tonight, the Eagles head to Central Decatur for a doubleheader with game one starting at 5:30 p.m.

Melcher-Dallas lost 16-0 in three innings at Centerville (3-14) on Wednesday.

Hansen senior spotlight

Senior slugger Aubrey Hansen, who is the second baseman for the Eagles, was one of four Eagles honored during Monday evening’s festivities. The other Eagles, Mallory Raney, Kaylin Lack and Kaitlyn Mitchell will receive a spotlight later this season.

Hansen looks to Ames for her academic home.

“My plan is to go to Iowa State,” Hansen said. “I have a handful of credits left and right now I’m applying to vet school.”