WATERLOO — Waterloo East’s softball team refused to get rattled by the type of bad breaks that can cause some teams to become unhinged during the heightened pressure of postseason play.
After a couple bounces didn’t go their way during Thursday night’s Class 4A regional quarterfinal, the Trojans made their own luck and secured a 6-3 win over Bondurant-Farrar at East High.
East (11-30) advanced to a 7 p.m. Saturday Class 4A, Region 6 semifinal at Des Moines Hoover by putting together a go-ahead, two-run rally after Bondurant-Farrar (8-28) tied the game on a wild sequence of two similar hits with different results.
East’s Leah Frost settled for a two-RBI double in the fourth inning when she lofted a fly off the yellow plastic guard on the top of the fence in the left field gap and the softball ricocheted back into play.
The 3-2 lead was brief. Frost gave up a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning when Bondurant-Farrar’s Josie Carter pulled her pitch off that same yellow guard only for it to bounce over.
A former state champion bowler, Frost wasn’t rattled.
“I was just kind of like, ‘New ballgame. They tied it up, whatever,’” Frost related.
The veteran senior pitcher went on to retire the next six batters before escaping a jam with two runners in scoring position and no outs in the seventh inning. Frost caught a line drive, and later shortstop Lexi Wroe fired to first baseman Josie Stocks who then cut down a runner attempting to score for a game-ending double play.
It was a strong finish for an East team that played from behind throughout the majority of this contest. Bondurant-Farrar opened with a 2-0 lead on RBI singles from Kenzie Adkins and Lindsay Carter in the first inning, but didn’t put multiple runners on base again until the top of the seventh.
Frost struck out three and walked just one while scattering eight hits. She was backed by a defense that only committed one error.
“I just like the way they were composed,” East coach Gene Laughlin said. “We got behind but it didn’t shake us up. We’ve been playing like that all year so we’re used to it, but then we battled back.”
Bri Netty got one run back when she singled and stole two bases before scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning. After Frost’s initial go-ahead double in the fourth, a pair of quick outs preceded East’s big two-out, go-ahead rally in the bottom of the fifth.
Ninth graders Stocks, Kenidi Adams and Jayden Bentley loaded the bases for senior Kaylee Hanks who lined a two-run single in front of the Bondurant-Farrar centerfielder. Netty added an additional insurance run in the sixth when she recorded an infield single and came around to score on a series of wild pitches.
“We’ve got good hitters and once they start hitting it gets contagious,” Laughlin said, addressing a roster in which over half of his players just completed either eighth or ninth grade. “Some of those kids are young kids and they’re battlers. They work and they put a good swing on it. I just like the way they battled.”
For seniors Frost and Hanks, it was a sweet finish. Their final home game at East High ended with a hard-earned win.
“It’s really exciting,” Frost said. “We haven’t won a home game all year, and to win my very last home game, especially with it being districts, is a good feeling.”
WATERLOO EAST 6, BONDURANT-FARRAR 3
Bondurant-Farrar 200 010 0 — 3 8 1
Waterloo East 100 221 x — 6 9 1
Riley Gilroy and Rachel Everly. Leah Frost and Addy Grimmett. 2B—Frost (East), Kenzie Peters, Josie Carter (BF). HR—Carter (BF)