A week after shocking No. 1 Akron-Westfield to advance to the program's first-ever state tournament, the Gehlen softball team was unable to pull off a similar feat against No. 3 Martensdale-St. Marys.
The Blue Devils took an early lead, and the Lady Jays couldn't get their offense going in Martensdale-St. Marys' 6-1 win in the opening round of the state tournament Monday in Fort Dodge.
The Blue Devils (39-2) struck quickly against Gehlen (24-11) senior pitcher Amber Timmins with three runs in the top of the first inning. Katrina Devore walked with one-out and stole second on a close play. She scored when Hailey Sweet hit a double into left-center field.
Meagan Streyffeler laid down a sacrifice bunt before Nicole Shutt slapped a soft line drive that got over the third baseman's head for an RBI single. After Elizabeth Gerdes walked, Emma Michels hit a ground ball that found the hole on the right side of the infield for an RBI single.
The Lady Jays got out of the inning when Gerdes was thrown out at home trying to score on a pitch that scooted away from the catcher. Although the Blue Devils didn't hit the ball particularly hard, they scored runs and put the pressure on Gehlen.
Michels was on the mound for Martensdale-St. Marys, and she didn't allow a hit in the first three innings. With one out in the fourth inning, senior Lisa Gunter broke up the no-hitter and gave the Lady Jays some hope when she crushed a high fly ball that cleared the fence in left field for a solo home run that cut the Blue Devils lead to 3-1.
"It was nice to see Lisa hit that home run," Hatting said. "Being a senior, first time down at state. I thought that might get things going."
Timmins settled in on the rubber for Gehlen after the first inning and gave up no runs on just one hit over the next four innings. She got some help from a solid defense behind her, including a leaping catch by senior shortstop Steph Rohe to end the fifth.
The Blue Devils were able to extend their lead with two runs in the sixth inning. Streyffeler led off with a double and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. She scored when Gerdes laid down a squeeze bunt, and Gerdes advanced to second when the Lady Jays tried to get the out at home and the throw was mishandled.
Two hard hit singles by Rohe and Gunter put runners at the corners for Gehlen in the bottom of the sixth inning with just one out, but the Lady Jays couldn't cash in.
The Blue Devils added an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Streyffeler hit an RBI single. The Lady Jays wasted two more singles in their half of the seventh.
Gehlen finished the game with six hits. Gunter was 2-for-3. Rohe, junior Abigail Krienert, sophomore Alison Schnepf and junior Shannon Smith each had one hit.
Timmins pitched a complete game and gave up six earned runs on eighth hits. She struck out two and walked three. The Lady Jays committed one error.
Although it was a slow start that hurt Gehlen on Monday, Hatting didn't think it had anything to do with nerves or a hangover from the big win over A-W.
The loss didn't conclude the Lady Jays' season. They will play Wednesday at 10 a.m. against Newell-Fonda (34-8) . The winner will play for fifth place at 4 p.m. The loser will play for seventh place at 2 p.m.