CLARKSVILLE — The fourth inning of Wednesday’s Class 1A Region 7 quarterfinal was what Katie Wedeking was hoping for.
Her Clarksville softball team’s bats finally broke out of a bit of a slumber and put up a big crooked number.
In the process, the third-ranked Indians invoked the 12-run mercy rule to eliminate Central Elkader, 12-0, at Volunteer Park to make Friday’s regional semifinal.
They’ll next face Turkey Valley, an 8-2 upset winner over Kee High in Lansing. That game will be in Clarksville at 7 p.m. on Friday.
“We knew going into regional play, our bats are what’s going to take us all the way,” Katie Wedeking said. “That’s what held us back last year, so I was just waiting for someone to break it open, instead of getting one run an inning.”
The Tribe pounded out eight hits in that fourth frame, scoring nine times to break it open and end it early at the same time. Meanwhile, Kori Wedeking, Clarksville’s junior pitcher, did not allow a baserunner or even a ball hit out of the infield in her four innings of work.
“These shorter games aren’t always the best, because you don’t get as in shape, I guess,” Kori Wedeking said. “We’ve had a few bigger games in the past, so I think I’m ready for these next couple of games.”
She threw just 38 pitches in the circle for the Indians while striking out seven. At the plate, she went 3-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Katie Wedeking said Kori Wedeking has been carrying the Tribe defensively the whole way.
“I think having her in the circle and then our batters behind her, it’s going to take us a long ways,” Katie Wedeking said.
Kori Wedeking said the bats started a little slow.
“It was a different pitcher (Chelsia Larson), we’ve never seen her, and it might’ve taken a little bit,” Kori Wedeking said. “I think we’re right where we want to be for postseason.”
It looked like the bats were ready to go from the get-go for Clarksville (29-1).
Cheyenne Behrends smacked a 1-0 offering from Larson through the right-center-field gap and didn’t stop running until she reached third base. Kenzie Bloker then brought her home on a grounder to shortstop, reaching on the Delaney Scharff error.
A couple batters later, Janet Borchardt smacked a double into the right-center empty space to put Bloker on third. Ainsley Lovrien then walked, and Cailyn Hardy brought home Bloker on a bases-loaded free pass to make the score 2-0 after one inning.
In the second, the Indians added another run. Bailey Myers walked, Behrends doubled to center, and Bloker walked to load the bags. Then, Kori Wedeking hit an infield single to short that plated Myers. A line-drive double play and a pop out ended the frame.
Neither team scored in the third, but Clarksville brought 12 to the dish to close out the game in the bottom of the fourth.
With one out, Kori Wedeking hit a single to left, followed by a base knock by Borchardt to the same location. Both moved up on a Lauren Schrader passed ball. Lovrien then drove in her batterymate with a line drive off of Larson’s glove that fell in for an infield single to make the score 4-0, as Borchardt held at second.
Hardy then walked to stuff the sacks again. After an Emma Poppe foul pop, Chloe Ross grounded to Scharff.
However, the attempt to retire Lovrien’s courtesy runner, Sierra Vance, was late, allowing Borchardt to come home for a 5-0 lead.
Myers next took a 2-2 pitch off the wall just to the left of straight-away center to plate Vance and Hardy for the 7-0 advantage.
Behrends then singled past second baseman Abby Cummer to bring home Ross and Myers to make the tally 9-0. After a wild pitch, Bloker walked, and Kori Wedeking singled through the box to bring in Behrends to get the five-inning 10-run mercy rule in place if the Warriors could get the third out in the fourth.
However, that never happened. Borchardt on a 1-1 count drilled a liner off the fence in left-center to bring home Bloker and Kori Wedeking to end the game.
Behrends and Borchardt joined Kori Wedeking in having 3-4 hitting nights. Behrends was a home run shy of a cycle — hitting a triple, double and single in the game — with two RBIs, while Borchardt had a pair of two-baggers and also two driven in.
Katie Wedeking said Behrends’ night was a big one.
“She’s been our lead-off all year,” Katie Wedeking said. “She’s been hitting good all year, it’s just that she’s been struggling on and off. She’d get one hit a game, but tonight to open it up like that, get a triple, that’s the best she’s hit all season.”
She added that the top of the order — Behrends, Bloker, Kori Wedeking and Borchardt — will have more confidence after Wednesday’s performance.
“Our hitters are who led it tonight,” she said. “Surprising the last couple of games, the bottom of the line-up has been carrying us, so it’s good to have now the tops back into their swings, and hopefully, the way through the line-up will be good.”