FORT DODGE — On paper, the Class 1A first round matchup between Clarksville and Belle Plaine looked to be quite the pitching duel.
With Katie Cubbage (19-4 with a 1.87 ERA) leading from the mound for the Plainsmen, and Kori Wedeking (22-1, 0.69) throwing for the Indians, the game had the look of a low-scoring affair.
Unexpectedly, it turned into an offensive fireworks show as the Indians held off a late Plainsmen rally for an exciting 9-8 victory after a 55-minute delay before the scheduled start.
The Plainsmen struck first as Katy Ward slapped a line drive shot that kissed the foul pole on it’s way out of the park, chasing Shaylee Dodd and Ashton Bohlen home for a 3-0 lead.
They added to their advantage in the top of the second, as Dodd stroked a double in the gap of left-center bringing in Tori Hlas. Dodd then scored on a wild pitch to stretch the advantage to 5-0.
“I think we were pretty shook up there early,” Indians coach Katie Wedeking said. “ I was not expecting this type of game at all, I was looking to a pitching game with low scoring.
“So when it got to 5-0, I knew it was going to be a battle and we just needed to settle down. I told the girls that we just needed to play like we did against North Butler in the regional final and don’t let anything bother them.”
The Indians’ bats came to life in the bottom of the second, with Janet Borchardt poking a hard hit single up the middle, plating Makayla Holub and Chloe Ross. Emma Poppe followed with an RBI single, cutting the deficit to 5-3, before Bethany Negen nailed a two-run single that tied the game at five.
Both teams scratched across a single tally in the third inning, then the Indians grabbed their first lead in the fourth.
Bailey Myers reached on a walk, and Wedeking advanced her to third with a single. After Holub popped out to center, Myers beat the throw to the plate for the lead on a sacrifice fly.
“I had a good hit to start the game but then struggled a little,” Holub said. “I was glad to get the bat on the ball for the hit, but I knew we would need more runs.”
Holub helped the Indians get those extra runs in the bottom of the sixth, driving home Negen and Myers on a single. The two runs proved to be vital as the Indians surrendered a solo home run in the top of the seventh, but held on for the win.
“After struggling at the plate, I knew that I had to come through with my last at bat,” Holub said. “When the game was tied we just talked about this being anyone’s game, then we said that this is our game. We have been down before and we knew what to do.”
Following the seventh inning homer, Wedeking struck out the next batter. A hard hit grounder to third baseman Chelsea Capper ended the game as Capper made a perfect throw to first baseman Emma Poppe.
“I was so nervous when I made that throw, but it felt so good to see it become the final out,” Capper said. “I just wanted to make a good throw and now we get to play on.”
“Our girls know how to close out games,” coach Wedeking said. “Getting that strikeout with no one on in the seventh was big for us. It was a big relief to see Chelsea make that throw to end the game. I don’t think I have any finger nails left.”
The Indians will face Sigourney Thursday at 7:30, after the Savages defeated number two seeded Akron-Westfield 7-3.
CLARKSVILLE 9, BELLE PLAINE 8
Belle Plaine 321 010 1—8 12 0
Clarksville 051 102 x—9 11 1
Katie Cubbage and Shaylee Stanerson, Kori Wedeking and Bethany Negen. HR—Katy Ward (BP), Amanda Cook (BP). 2B—Shaylee Dodd (BP), Shaylee Stanerson (BP).