Huskies clinch share of title
The dream season continued for the Highland softball team on Tuesday night.
The Huskies clinched at least a share of the Southeast Iowa Super Conference title with their 14-0 road win in five innings over Iowa Mennonite, as the No. 1 team in 2A moved to 26-1 on the year.
It took a little bit for the Huskies to get things going in the game, as IMS (2-15) gave Highland a fight for the first couple of innings on its senior night.
“(IMS pitcher Rachel Miller’s) pitching speed is tough,” Highland head coach Carrie Wieland said. “She does a good job of going slower and then a little bit slower. They did a good job seeing that we were struggling with that, but we were picking our pitches and staying on top of the plate. Once we relaxed a little bit we did a good job. It felt good for all of us; we just wanted to finish up the game and keep going.”
Despite the loss, Iowa Mennonite’s head coach Kim Wood was able to take some positives out of the game.
“I think this was one of our better games,” Wood said. “We shut them down one inning, making them go three up-three down, which kind of lit their fire, I think. We know we are young, and we know we have to play with heart because sometimes our depth isn’t always there, but we aren’t giving up until the umpire says it’s over and that’s how we play. It doesn’t matter what the score is, it’s how we play.”
Highland pitcher Katie Springer moved to 22-1 on the year, earning the win on Tuesday, pitching all five shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk, while striking out seven batters. She was helped by a Husky defense that didn’t commit an error all game.
“Katie Jo (Springer) feels bad because she gave up a couple hits – I think she would have liked to throw a no-hitter – but she knows (the defense) is back there,” Wieland said. “She can work ahead in the count and mess around after that. It’s an awesome feeling knowing when the ball is in the air, it will be caught.”
Highland took a 5-0 lead in the second inning when catcher Courtnee Hahn hit her second triple of the game to drive in Cheyann Adamson.
Rachel Miller shut down the Huskies in order in the third, but in the fifth, Highland exploded for seven runs, including a three-RBI double by Lindsay Wide off the bench, and a homerun from Hahn.
The two hits for IMS came from Statia Majerick and Kaylin Brokaw.
Only one senior was honored for a young Iowa Mennonite team, catcher Jacayla Litwiller, who has been the varsity catcher for IMS for four years.
“I’ve been part of her softball career since she was 12,” Wood said. “I coached a tournament team with her, so we’ve been around many mountains, and we’ve grown together. Lo and behold, I ended up here at IMS not knowing that this would happen. To see her grow, change, mature and be a leader has been a blessing.”
Highland will attempt to clinch the conference title outright against Columbus at home Wednesday at 7 p.m. while IMS takes on Lone Tree in a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon.