WATERLOO — It is the time of the season for high school softball teams to be hitting their stride as regional play begins.
Thursday night, Waterloo West put together one of its best efforts of the season as they opened the Class 5A regional tournament with a dominating 4-0 shutout of Mississippi Valley Conference foe Cedar Rapids Washington.
The Wahawks (6-31) offense jumped on the Warriors early for a 4-0 lead, and the defense never let their opponent get into the game, as they completed the three-hit shutout.
Senior Sophia Dehl made sure that her last game on the Wahawks field would be a memorable one. Dehl blasted a double up the middle with her first at bat and scored on Haley Christoffer’s double.
“I felt good about our offense tonight and I think they really set the pace for the game,” said Dehl. “This team has come a long ways since the beginning of the year and I wish the season was a little longer. We have been doing things right like stopping the ball and making plays.
“I want this team to go farther in the playoffs and it would be great to make state. It has been 10 years since a West team has been there. It would be special for me and all the seniors who have put in the time. It would be special for me because I have my dad (Adam) helping coach us.”
Dehl delivered another double in the second frame, this time chasing two runs home for a 3-0 Wahawks lead.
With West holding the lead, the defense protected the edge with good play in the field and tough pitching from the circle.
Junior pitcher, Bre’Ann Olsson hit a groove early and kept the pedal down on the Warriors bats throughout.
“We kind of expected to take them out, but you have to go out and play,” said Olsson. “It was so nice to win our last home game of the year and to shut them out. They started to hit the ball harder later in the game, and when the last girl was up I really wanted to strike her out. I threw the last few pitches with a little more speed because I wanted that strike out.”
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Olsson got her wish as she got the Warriors number two hitter to miss on a screamer to end the game. It was Olsson’s seventh ‘K’ of the game.
“I wish the season could last a little longer because we are beginning to put it all together,” added Olsson. “We are playing tighter together and I really feel we can take Kennedy this weekend.” Cedar Rapids Kennedy will be next on the Wahawks regional journey.
The Wahawks received multiple hits from Dehl, Bri McPoland (2 singles), Chrsitoffer a single and double, and Abby Payne connected on a pair of singles as well.
“These girls have really been focused at practice and working on the situational plays,” said Wahawks coach Ashley Reimer. “The defense stayed focused all seven innings tonight and they did not let that snowball affect happen.
“Sometimes when one bad thing happens then a lot of bad things happen. We don’t like that snowball affect. I do have to give Washington credit though, They played us tough like always and their pitcher brought the heat late. It was just good to end the home season with a win.”
West 4, Washington 0
Washington 000 000 0—0 3 1
West 220 000 x—4 8 2
Grace Stockmaster and Dejanera Redmond. Bre Olsson and Bri McPoland. 2B—Sophia Dehl 2 (WW), Haley Christoffer (WW).