JESUP — The heat was on Monday night — in more ways than one.
On a sultry, steamy evening, Class 3A’s fifth-ranked Waterloo Columbus paid a visit to Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Jesup in a matchup featuring two of Northeast Iowa’s top teams.
The Sailors (30-4) used sound defense, timely hitting and solid pitching to shut down the J-Hawks (24-9) by 4-2 and 8-0 scores.
Columbus got off to a big start in the opener as Alivia Schultz slapped a double through the defense to plate Taylor Hogan, who led off with a single. Schultz later came around on a Kayla Sproul single for a 2-0 lead.
Jesup answered with Kristin Sadler’s RBI double in the bottom of the first, then tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Alexis Larson.
The J-Hawks didn’t score again the rest of the night.
The Sailors, on the other hand, had just begun.
Sydney Schultz reached first after being hit by a pitch and Sophie Meier collected her 25th RBI of the season for the go-ahead run in game one.
Alivia Schultz crushed a double in the sixth frame that scored Hogan with the final run.
“We knew going into this game tonight that we needed to play our best, because these guys are really good,” Schultz said of the J-Hawks. “I think tonight a statement was made and we had a lot of fun. Everyone was hitting the ball and the defense made some great plays.
Schultz finished with a pair of doubles and 10 putouts on the night.
Pitcher Kayla Sproul took command in the second game with a four-hit shutout.
“I think in that first game I was more nervous because I was going against some girls I played summer ball with,” said Sproul. “I settled myself down in the second game and got control after my defense made some awesome plays.”
With the Sailors in front 2-0, Jesup’s Kristin Sadler hit a hard liner down the left field line that looked as if it would plate two runs, but Reagan Lindsay shifted into a higher gear and made a lunging catch.
“It’s plays like that, that will help my confidence throwing,” added Sproul.
Columbus scratched out a pair of runs in the second, then put single tallies on the board in each of the final four innings.
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“We knew this was going to be a challenge for us tonight,” Sailors coach Chris Olmstead said. “Each pitch, each out and each inning was going to be a challenge.
“What I was pleased with was the bottom of the lineup came through big time tonight. They got on base, they moved people and they were just strong fundamentally. We were strong.”
The J-Hawks were also strong in many areas.
“We played a very good team, and when you get behind them like we did it is hard to come back,” said Jesup coach Rod Elson. “We hit way too many fly balls and we didn’t catch very many breaks.
“Columbus has it all right now. They hit, play great defense and have strong pitching and we got behind them early. We played good defense, we just didn’t get any breaks our way.
“But there are games left to play and once you get into the tournament it’s a whole new season.”
Columbus 4-8, Jesup 2-0
Columbus 200 011 0 — 4 10 1
Jesup 100 100 0 — 2 5 1
Kayla Sproul and Sydney Schultz. Rhianna Bigwood and Andrea Gibbs. 2B — Alivia Schultz 2 (WC), Jalila Hart (WC).
Columbus 220 111 1 — 8 11 0
Jesup 000 000 0 — 0 4 5
Zoe Miller and Alexis Larson. Kayla Sproul and Sydney Schultz. 2B — Taylor Hogan (WC), Hart (WC).