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Lone Tree used an 11-run first inning to squash a hopeful Iowa Mennonite team 15-3 in three innings and advance to the quarterfinals of the regional softball bracket.
“Hitting is contagious and that definitely showed tonight. Abby (Buckman) led off with a great hit and things just kind of went through that,” Lone Tree junior Chloe Jacque said.
The Lady Lions compiled nine hits, drew 10 walks and stole seven bases in the win over their SEISC opponent.
The game started off with a strong start from Iowa Mennonite as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Suzanna Yoder singled on a hard grounder to the shortstop and advanced after a Rubye Ney bunt was mishandled by the Lone Tree defense.
An Avery Blauvelt double scored two runs and later in the inning a Sarah Miller single scored Blauvelt to give Iowa Mennonite a 3-0 lead.
“We wanted to have that good inning to start out,” Miller said. “It felt really good and we were hoping that we could keep up our play.”
However, the Lady Lions came out swinging and put 17 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the first inning. Holley Johnson and Chloe Jacque had multiple hits in the first inning for Lone Tree. Iowa Mennonite was finally able to end the inning as Suzanna Yoder struck out Lily Miller.
Of the nine total outs for Iowa Mennonite six of those were strikeouts from Lone Tree’s starting pitcher Abby Buckman. Jacque said her riseball was catching batters off-guard all night.
“She’s a super relentless pitcher that doesn’t give up on herself or teammates,” Jacque said.
In the second inning Lone Tree added one run as freshman Skylar Smith scored after advancing on three passed balls. Iowa Mennonite had a nice defensive play in the inning with a 1-2-3 double play from Yoder to Blauvelt to Mia Graber.
Blauvelt walked with one out in the third inning, but a hard line drive to Whitney Willoz led to her turning a double play.
In the bottom of the third Lily Miller, Skylar Smith and Abby Buckman scored to bring the run-rule into effect and end the game at 15-3.
The Lions now played North Mahaska on Tuesday as they hope to keep their season alive.
“I think we just have to keep the excitement and transfer the hitting. That’s something that has been up and down for us this season, but if we keep this hitting up we can get pretty far,” Jacque said.
Iowa Mennonite ends their season with a 3-16 record and says goodbye to seniors Hannah Harris, Joya Schrock, Alyssa Hershberger and Avery Blauvelt. Miller said those four will be missed, but said the future has some positive signs for Iowa Mennonite.
Six starters will return for Iowa Mennonite next year with five of them having two or more years left in their high school softball careers.
Iowa Mennonite: 300 — 3
Lone Tree: 1113 — 15