By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
FORT DODGE — As always, they came to win it all.
Last year, following the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers’ 4-1 loss in the championship runner-up game, Coach Jim White said “they didn’t come up here to play for third.”
This year, the Clippers battled through extra innings, extreme heat and humidity, and even a 75 minute rain delay to pick up their second State Class 3A Championship in three years (and tenth overall). The week began with a nine-inning fight Tuesday, July 19, with West Delaware ending in a 6-5 win for CCA. The Thursday semifinal round contest pitted the Clippers against Dallas Center-Grimes, where the Clippers sent the Fillies to the glue factory, winning 7-2, and setting the stage for Friday’s championship bout with Winterset.
The Huskies of Winterset had sent Solon to the consolation bracket with a 7-2 win Tuesday, and brought a 32-10 record to the diamond.
The Clippers, with Maliah Fligg in the circle, held the Huskies scoreless through four innings of play. CCA picked up their first run in the bottom of the second inning when Tara Walls doubled and came home on an RBI double by Mallory Madsen. In the bottom of the fourth, Walls picked up an unearned run, scoring on a Winterset error.
Winterset put up a run in the top of the fifth, shortly before heavy rains led to the aforementioned delay in the Clipper’s half of the inning. The Huskies barked again in the top of the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch to tie the ballgame at two apiece.
Mariah McKinnon relieved Fligg in the top of the eighth and held the Huskies scoreless in a one hit, one strikeout effort. Fran Strub belted out a triple in the bottom of the inning but was DOA at the plate with a failed score attempt, while McKinnon reached base on a fielder’s choice. Caitlin Wnek singled and advanced McKinnon to second. Fligg knocked a base hit to right center field, and McKinnon headed for home, getting her fingertips on the bag before the tag and scoring the winning run.
The Clippers’ three runs came on six hits and two Huskie errors. Strub, Wnek (2), Fligg and Madsen were the hitters with RBIs for Fligg and Madsen. Pitching, Fligg gave up two hits and two earned runs, walked four and struck-out four. The win closed out the CCA season with 43 wins and only two losses for the 2011 season.
Wnek, McKinnon, Fligg and Madsen were also named to the Class 3A All-Tournament Team with the diminutive freshman Madsen named the Captain. The team bids fair winds and following seas to only two seniors: designated hitter Maria Hennes and catcher Maddy Beckler.