July 18, 2024

Trojans gains split after dramatic opener

Staver hits walkoff homer in 12-10 win

Evy Marlin looks toward teammates at home plate and greets assistant coach Gracie Hagle after rounding third base moments after Marlin's first home run as a Panther in Monday's 12-10 win over Atlantic.

After five hours of softball that included 54 hits and 45 total runs, the Creston and Atlantic softball teams ended up with a split of their varsity doubleheader Monday night.

Avery Staver’s three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh salvaged a 12-10 win by the Panthers in game one, as junior Taryn Fredrickson went the distance for the win with 136 pitches.

Creston's Avery Staver celebrates with teammates waiting at home plate as head coach Dave Hartman walks to shake hands with Atlantic coach Terry Hinzman after Staver's three-run home run in the seventh inning gave Creston a 12-10 win in Monday's doubleheader.

Creston had home runs by Jersey Foote, Ava Adamson, Evy Marlin and Staver in the opener among its 17 hits. Adamson went 4-of-5 at the leadoff position with a double. Fredrickson helped her cause with three hits and two RBIs. Sidney Staver had a run-scoring double.

Fredrickson had seven strikeouts and four walks in that game, as Atlantic scored eight earned runs on 14 hits. Lila Wiederstein homered for the Trojans.

The second game was a matchup of freshman pitchers, with Atlantic’s Peyton McLaren gaining the win. Starter Kennedy Strider and reliever Avery Staver shared pitching duties for Creston, finishing with seven walks and 14 hits allowed in five innings. Creston had eight errors in the second game and two in the opener.

“I’m OK with our hitting, heck I still thought we would come back and win game two, but we couldn’t stop them,” Creston coach Dave Hartman said. “We couldn’t make a play. We planned on pitching Kennedy for two innings and Avery for two innings in the second game and closing with Taryn, but we couldn’t make plays and Taryn ended up throwing 136 pitches, so we didn’t want to come back with her. We play again tomorrow against a good Clarinda team.”

Creston senior second baseman Sophie Hagle catches a foul popup near the fence during Monday's home doubleheader against Atlantic.

Clarinda, ranked 11th in Class 3A, one spot behind Atlantic, hosted the Panthers Tuesday.

“Kennedy wasn’t supposed to pitch that long, but she battled,” Hartman said. “We have to get better defensively. We have to know the situations and where we’re going to throw the ball to have a chance at an out. We just have to coach them better. They’re good athletes and they will improve.”

Marlin and Strider each had two hits in the second game for the Panthers. Avery Staver had a double and two RBIs. Adamson hit a double and was intentionally walked twice after her power display earlier in the evening.

“We have some kids swinging it pretty good,” Hartman said. “That’s the second time Avery has hit a home run after I called a hit-and-run. When we get the count in our favor she’s good at the hit-and-run. Ava is ripping the ball and that home run by Jersey was as far as any home run I’ve seen in softball except maybe one ball that Nevaeh (Randall) hit last year at Harlan. She just destroyed that ball.”

Jersey Foote of Creston connects with one of the longest home runs in Panther Field history in the Panthers' 12-10 victory in game one Monday. The ball sailed high over the trees past the left field fence, for her third homer of the season.

The first game had a lot more drama, with seven lead changes. Each team scored in five separate innings. Hartman was confined to the dugout for the rest of the first game after disputing a catcher obstruction call on a play in which he thought Creston had legally tagged an Atlantic runner out at the plate.

Marlin, a transfer from Southwest Valley, hit her first home run as a Panther in the sixth inning to forge a 9-9 tie. Atlantic moved ahead 10-9 in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Jillian Saathoff.

Zoey Vandevender led off Creston’s seventh with a single to right center. Adamson singled with one out. That’s when Avery Staver ended it with her third home run of the young season.

Evy Marlin looks toward teammates at home plate and greets assistant coach Gracie Hagle after rounding third base moments after Marlin's first home run as a Panther in Monday's 12-10 win over Atlantic.

Creston fell behind 10-1 in the top of the third inning of game two, but responded with five runs, including Avery Staver’s two-run double, in the bottom of the third.

But, 10-6 was as close as it would get, as Atlantic scored seven unanswered runs in the next two innings. Claire Pellett hit a home run in Atlantic’s five-run fourth inning.

Atlantic's Jillian Saathoff was ruled safe at home plate after Creston catcher Ava Adamson caught a relay throw from shortstop Avery Staver on a Trojan base hit in the sixth inning of Creston's 12-10 victory.

Creston stays in first place in the Hawkeye Ten Conference at 5-1, and 5-4 overall. Atlantic slips to 4-2 in league play, having split an earlier doubleheader with Clarinda, and is 10-5 overall.

After playing Clarinda Tuesday, the Panthers return home Thursday for Little League Appreciation Night against Shenandoah. The annual John Stephens Classic is Friday and Saturday with Creston playing four ranked teams in the two-day event.

The Panthers play defending state champion and Class 4A sixth-ranked Winterset at 10 a.m. Friday and 4A No. 13 Bondurant-Farrar at 5 p.m. Friday. The Saturday games are back-to-back, taking on Class 4A seventh-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes at 5:15 p.m. and Class 1A No. 8-ranked Earlham at 7 p.m.

Larry Peterson

LARRY PETERSON

Former senior feature writer at Creston News Advertiser and columnist. Previous positions include sports editor for many years and assistant editor. Also a middle school basketball coach in Creston.