Hawks advance to fifth-place game
Breakfast was barely done for most people when the Mid-Prairie softball team took to the field on Tuesday morning.
It was a 9 a.m. start for the Golden Hawks at the state tournament, but once their consolation bracket semifinal game got under way, they didn’t look too tired.
A four-run fifth inning capped off a 5-2 victory in six innings for Mid-Prairie over West Burlington-Notre Dame, which advances them to the fifth-place game on Wednesday.
The game was called in six innings due to a 90-minute time limit placed on consolation games at the state tournament.
“I told them we needed to go out there and play our game,” Mid-Prairie head coach Kara Beatty said in a post-game interview. “We knew they were going to play small ball on us and they were speedy but our game plan on defense was to take the outs that we are given, because we knew they would bunt a lot.”
West Burlington got the scoring started in the third inning when Courtney Coffin had an RBI single to drive in Shayleigh Abbot, giving them a 1-0 lead.
Mid-Prairie tied it back up in the fourth as Ashley Sojka singled in Amanda Miller, and the Hawks broke things open in the fifth.
Lexi Duwa found herself on second base in a heartbeat, drawing a leadoff walk and quickly stealing second, then Amber Kral doubled to left field to give Mid-Prairie two runners in scoring position.
After Taylor Kurtz drew a walk, the next two batters got out, threatening to end the inning, but Ali Naylor drew a walk to bring a run home, giving Mid-Prairie a 2-1 lead.
Chelsea Kral came up with the big hit of the game, a two-RBI single which made it 4-1, and then a passed ball gave Mid-Prairie the insurance they would need, going into the bottom of the fifth.
“Amber Kral got a double into left field and everyone followed through,” Beatty said. “In that fifth inning we finally broke through. We knew their top four hitters had the most speed and power in the lineup and Taylor did an awesome job of keeping them off balance.”
Kurtz shut down West Burlington in order in the fifth, then in the sixth inning the Falcons picked up a run to attempt a comeback.
The junior pitcher forced a groundout for the final out of the game, stranding two in the sixth as the Hawks moved on to the fifth-place game.
The Hawks were led by Amber Kral’s 2-for-3 night at the plate, while Kurtz pitched all six innings, striking out five batters while giving up five hits and one walk.
Mid-Prairie will face Center Point-Urbana on Wednesday.
“They know tomorrow is the last game of the season,” Beatty said. “They want to end the season on a high note and this is what you prepare for all season. They are excited to play tomorrow and are ready to play. It will be a good matchup for us and they are ready to end the season on a high note.”
The fifth-place game will begin at noon.