FAIRBANK – In a “Battle of Warriors,” Central Elkader defeated Wapsie Valley 4-1 in the Class 1A Region 7 first round playoff game on Monday.
Wapsie Valley scored one run in the first inning after left fielder Sydnei Martin led off with a walk, stole second base, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a second wild pitch.
Wapsie Valley then loaded the bases after right fielder Sydney Matthias and third baseman Sammi Kane reached on walks and pitcher Ellie Neil reached on a bunt hit. However, Central Elkader pitcher Chelsia Larson was able to pitch out of the jam with Wapsie Valley holding a one-run lead after the first inning.
Larson (7-20) held Wapsie Valley scoreless the rest of the way, as they were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the third, fifth and sixth innings. She struck out five Wapsie Valley batters; and allowed five hits, four walks and one earned run.
“We just needed to get more hits,” said Wapsie Valley softball coach Liz Bergman. “We didn’t take advantage of the bases loaded when we had them, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
Ellie Neil (3-10) held Central Elkader scoreless through four innings and was able to pitch out of jams in the third and fourth innings. In the fifth inning, she allowed back-to-back hits, before Zoe Barker hit an RBI double to tie the game.
Neil was lifted after Barker’s double after pitching four innings and failing to retire three batters in the fifth inning. She had one strikeout; while allowing three hits, three walks and three earned runs.
Kaci Beesecker came in relief and helped limit the damage in the fifth inning. She recorded three strikeouts in the inning, allowed a walk, hit by pitch and an error by second baseman Kennedi Neil led to a fourth run scoring for Central Elkader.
Beesecker pitched the final three innings of the contest and had five strikeouts total; while allowing three hits, two walks, a hit by pitch and one unearned run.
Wapsie Valley combined for five hits, four walks, one run and one stolen base. Martin had a hit, a walk, a run and a stolen base.
Central Elkader advanced to the second round of the Regionals and will play against hosting Clarksville on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Wapsie Valley closes out the season with a 7-20 record after losing to Central Elkader.
Bergman said she told her team to hang their heads high as their season ended.
“[I told them to] be ready for next year, because we don’t have seniors, so we don’t lose anybody,” Bergman said. “We [have] a lot of great girls coming up and lots of experience, so we are going to be ready to get back at it next year.”