STATE CENTER - The much-anticipated championship game between the two ranked teams in the Rose Festival Softball Tournament was no contest.
Because it was never played.
Class 3A No. 5-ranked East Marshall and 2A No. 7 Des Moines Christian had barely begun their title tilt on Saturday at West Marshall High School before lightning delayed and rain soon washed away the placewinner games.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Jefferson-Scranton’s Kayla Mobley (15) is tagged out by East Marshall catcher Ashley Allen while trying to score during the fourth inning of Saturday’s semifinal game in the Rose Festival Softball Tournament in State Center. Backing up the throw home is Mustang first baseman Taylor Fricke, right. Class 3A’s fifth-ranked East Marshall rallied for a 6-5 win to improve to 18-1 on the season. View additional photos and order prints online at timesrepublican.com, click on CU.
East Marshall (18-1) proved its mettle after enduring its first loss of the season earlier in the week, winning twice on Saturday for its fifth win in six days. After using one big inning to topple Newton in Saturday's tournament opener, 5-0, the Mustangs had to gird themselves for a comeback victory, triumphing 6-5 over Jefferson-Scranton.
Katie Roseland connected for her state-leading 11th home run of the season - a two-run shot that sparked East Marshall's eventual win over Jefferson-Scranton (14-4) - to set up a championship clash between two of the state's most prolific home run hitting teams.
The Mustangs lead 3A with 20 home runs this summer, according to quikstatsiowa.com. Des Moines Christian (15-4), thanks to a pair of round-trippers from Olivia Rasmussen on Saturday, moved the Lions' HR total to 27 - third-best in all classes.
Rose Festival Tournament
At State Center
West Marshall 9, CMB 6
Des Moines Christian 7, Norwalk 1
East Marshall 5, Newton 0
Jefferson-Scranton 4, ADM 3
Des Moines Christian 7, West Marshall 1
East Marshall 6, Jefferson-Scranton 5
Norwalk 8, CMB 1
Newton 11, ADM 10
Rasmussen homered in both games for Des Moines Christian, which defeated Norwalk and host West Marshall by matching 7-1 scores.
With the way the team responded to its lone loss, East Marshall assistant coach Greg Lee was eager to see how the Mustangs would fare against Des Moines Christian.
"We did want to play them, it's just nice to play a good, tough team with a good thrower," said Lee. "We need to see teams like that, but we'll see some coming up this next weekend at the Bobcat Classic.
"We were looking forward to it, but we had a good week and hopefully we'll follow up with another good week."
The threat of wet weather prompted tournament officials to rearrange the schedule such that the championship game would get the best chance of being played. But a lightning strike two batters into the title bout chased both teams off the diamond and wiped out all four placewinner contests.
"We had a good day, and we wanted to have a good day with the (postseason) pairings coming out next week," said Lee. "That's the nice thing, we got our first loss this week but right after that we came back with a couple of come-from-behind wins and we've been talking about playing a hard seven innings."
East Marshall opened the day with a 5-0 triumph over Newton (10-7), scoring all five runs in the first inning.
The semifinal game against Jefferson-Scranton was substantially more dramatic. The Rams scored once in the first, twice in the second and two more times in the fifth to gain a 5-1 lead.
The Mustangs generated their comeback by batting around in the bottom of the fifth, starting with a bunt single by Paige Miller and a double from Chelsea Whitmore.
Whitmore was called out on a disputed call at third on a fielder's choice off the bat of Karly Long, but Miller scored on a wild pitch just before Roseland ended the team's season-long two-game HR drought to get East Marshall within 5-4.
Abby Nuese kept the rally going with her bunt single, Taylor Fricke walked, and Ashley Allen knotted it up with an RBI single through the left side.
Mustang pitcher Haley Long allowed only one more hit over the last two innings, and the bottom of the order got things going in the bottom of the seventh. Callie Roseland reached on a one-out single, and Allen was safe at first when her sacrifice bunt was misplayed.
Roseland scored moments later when Alyssa Whitmore slapped a double to the gap in left-center, beating a close play at the plate for the game-winning run.
The Mustangs finished with 11 hits but stranded 12 runners on base in just their second one-run game this season. Chelsea Whitmore was 2-for-3 with two doubles, while Karly Long and Allen singled twice.
Haley Long gave up nine hits, struck out two and walked two, allowing only one earned run as three Mustang errors helped Jefferson-Scranton gain the early advantage. Jennifer Kennedy went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI to pace the Rams.
East Marshall now looks ahead to a seven-game week, starting with Monday's NICL West Division game at South Tama. In next weekend's Bobcat Classic, the Mustangs will meet three more highly ranked opponents in Bondurant-Farrar, Lisbon and Martensdale-St. Marys in addition to host Marshalltown.
Host West Marshall Trojans settle for split
Tournament host West Marshall got the day off to a fast start that would eventually fizzle. The Trojans fired out of the gates in getting past CMB, 9-6, in the first round, but 2A No. 7 Des Moines Christian overcame West Marshall's early lead for a 7-1 semifinal win.
Jennifer Davis clubbed her second home run of the season to account for the Trojans' lone run, and one of the team's two hits against Des Moines Christian.
Lions pitcher Leah Harris (9-1) struck out 10 and walked two for the win. Rasmussen finished 3-for-3 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs.
West Marshall scored four times in the first inning against CMB, trailed 5-4 after the Raiders' five-run second, but tallied five runs between the fourth and sixth in a 9-6 victory.
Karis Gibbs capped the Trojans' four-run first with a two-run, two-out single in support of winning pitcher Rachel Freland.
Emily Durlin went 2-for-4 with a run, two RBIs and two stolen bases, while McKenna Hotopp ended up 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored for West Marshall.
Taylor Weyer doubled and her courtesy runner Samie Simatovich scored, while Sadie Simatovich was 1-for-3 with a run.
"That first game we played, we attacked the ball at the plate," said Trojans head coach Jordan Bentley. "We made only two errors, which is common for us, but that's still not a good thing.
"That second game we didn't have any passion. We were a little fatigued but just lost focus when the game got away from us."
West Marshall would have met Jefferson-Scranton in the third-place game in hopes of avenging an earlier 9-3 loss this season to the Rams.
"We've got a lineup I think we're happy with, I think that's the direction we're going," added Bentley. "We've got a busy week again next week, we play every night, so a night where we don't have to play a game is maybe not so bad."
West Marshall makes up Friday's rain-out at South Hardin by hosting the Tigers for two NICL West games on Monday starting at 6 p.m.