By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
FT. DODGE– It wasn’t the finish they were expecting.
The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers varsity softball team, under the leadership of coach Jim White, defeated Washington 6-2 Friday afternoon at the Class 4A state softball tournament. The win earned the squad the third-place trophy after a 3-0 semifinal loss to Indianola Thursday knocked them into the consolation bracket.
The tournament appearance was the 33rd for the team overall, its fourth consecutive and White’s 13th. A 2009 3A championship was followed by a fourth-place showing in 2010. Last year, the team won the 3A championship before moving to Class 4A this season.
“It’s tough to repeat anything, I think” White said.
The team came to Rogers Park with a 41-1 record and the No. 1 ranking. The Clippers showed their dominance on Tuesday in a first round game, pounding West Delaware 10-0 in five innings. Mallory Neubauer and Mariah McKinnon led at the plate with three hits each; Fran Strub had two hits including a two-RBI home run in the fifth inning. Maliah Fligg, Jazmyne Neely and Mara Jones had one hit apiece. Fligg pitched all five innings, striking-out three and giving up two hits. The Clippers put up five hits in the top of the second, one in the third and four in the fifth.
For CCA: 10 runs, 11 hits, 1 error.
For West Delaware: 0 runs, 2 hits, 3 errors.
Thursday’s Semifinal game against Indianola was a shocker for many as the Clippers picked up only their second loss of the season (the first coming from Class 5A Ankeny). Coach White found no fault in his team’s effort. “If anything, we tried too hard. We were just trying too hard to win; they worked so hard, they wanted it (the championship) so badly.”
The Indians put up two runs in the bottom of the third inning and one in the fifth. McKinnon, Fligg and Mallory Madsen had CCA’s three hits with a double in the fourth for McKinnon. Fligg and Miranda Hochstetler shared the pitching, working three innings each. Fligg struck-out one, walked one and gave up five hits and two earned runs. Hochstetler struck-out two, walked one and gave up two hits and one earned run.
For CCA: 0 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors.
For Indianola: 3 runs, 7 hits, 2 errors.
While they would have rather been on Diamond One Friday facing Dallas Center-Grimes (which lost 1-0 to Indianola), they regrouped and took-on the Demons.
“The girls showed a lot of heart today,” White said after the game. “Coming back was really tough, but the most important thing is, we stuck together as a team.”
The Clippers scored one run each in the top of the second and third innings, three in the fifth and one in the sixth. The Demons struck in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings. Strub had an RBI single in the second scoring Tara Walls, while Wnek scored on an error in the third. In the fifth, Wnek singled and advanced on a Fligg single. Madsen singled, scoring Wnek while a Neeley single brought in pinch-runner Amy Brant (running for Fligg). Mallory Neubauer grounded-out to second, but Madsen was able to score. Wnek knocked a solo home run to left field in the sixth.
Wnek and Madsen led with three hits each and an RBI apiece. Strub, McKinnon, Fligg, Monika Bevans, Neely, Neubauer and Kara Brant all had one hit each with RBIs credited to Strub, Neely and Neubauer. McKinnon pitched six innings with Hochstetler closing-out the game. McKinnon struck-out four, walked four and gave up seven hits and one earned run. “She did a nice job,” White said of the senior. Hochstetler had no strike-outs, walked one and gave up one hit and one earned run.
For CCA: 6 runs, 13 hits, 1 error.
For Washington: 2 runs, 7 hits, 1 error.
The Clippers finished the season with a 43-2 record and a lot of memories. White said he told the seniors “they made coaching fun for me again.” He explained with the program’s success “everyone is expecting you to win a state title, it gets tough. Our program is set on winning state titles.”
White loses six seniors: Strub, McKinnon, Wnek, Jones, Cassie Downes and Kara Brant. McKinnon, Strub, Wnek, Jones and Neely will go on to play college softball. Strub and McKinnon were also named to the Class 4A All-Tournament Team.