Hawks take fifth
After dropping its first game of the state tournament in Fort Dodge, Mid-Prairie found a way to bounce back in the consolation rounds.
A 5-2 win over West Burlington-Notre Dame on Tuesday and a 7-5 win over Center Point-Urbana on Wednesday gave the Golden Hawks a fifth-place finish in at state.
“We had momentum in the top of the seventh (in the first game) against East Marshall,” Mid-Prairie head coach Kara Beatty said. “We were coming back and just couldn’t get enough. We were disappointed but the next morning at batting practice, I told them it was time to regroup and let that game go and in the second half of that second game things started rolling for us and against Center Point, we looked like the team that beat No. 1 ranked Benton last week.”
The win against Center Point-Urbana was a power fest as Mid-Prairie sent three balls out of the park in the win.
The first homerun came in the bottom of the first, when Amber Kral connected on a two-run shot to give the Golden Hawks an early 2-0 lead.
“It was a matter of seeing the ball a bit better,” Beatty said. “Being the last game of the season, maybe the pressure was off a little bit. Everybody had better approaches at the plate and I remember the girls saying they seemed more relaxed. The hitting was contagious yesterday, because everybody had a solid hit in the game.”
Center Point responded with two one-RBI singles in the top of the second, with another run scoring on a groundout, as the Pointers took the lead 3-2.
In the bottom half of the second, Mid-Prairie got those three runs back in one swing as Chelsea Kral connected on a three-run homerun to give the Hawks the lead once again.
The Pointers tied things up in the fourth with Alyssa Wade taking a ball out of the park for two runs, but the Hawks were quick to respond, as Lexi Duwa picked up an RBI in the bottom of the inning to give Mid-Prairie the lead for good.
An Emma Troyer homer to left field in the fifth solidified the win in the six-inning game that ended due to the 90-minute time limit in consolation games.
On the mound, Taylor Kurtz gave up seven hits in the game and struck out two.
Offensively, the Hawks were led by Chelsea Kral’s 2-for-3 day, finishing the game with three RBIs, while Amber Kral (2-for-3, two RBIs) and Lexi Duwa (2-for-3, one RBI) picked up multi-hit performances in the game.
Mid-Prairie finishes its season at 27-11, and will only lose one player to graduation next season.
“Already after the game they are talking about getting back there and that they really want to get to that championship game next year,” Beatty said. “Whitney (Christiansen) has been a big role player all year, but the exciting part is, we have eight other girls in the starting lineup who are returning. Now that they’ve been there, they know what it’s like.”
This finish marks the third fifth-place finish for Mid-Prairie over the span of its five consecutive trips to the state tournament. That stretch includes a sixth-place finish in 2012 and a third-place finish in 2011.
“It sets the standard because as some parents have said, tradition doesn’t graduate,” Beatty said. “Not just the last five years, but over last eight or 10 years that Mid-Prairie has been to stat softball multiple times. It’s becoming a dominant program in 3A and the development of young players shows how the community has wrapped around the softball team the last few years.”