RSM softball falls to Southeast Warren in state quarterfinals
FORT DODGE — The Remsen St. Mary’s softball team dropped their Class 1A state quarterfinal round game to Southeast Warren on Tuesday at the Rogers Sports Complex. The No. 5 seeded Warhawks beat the No. 4 seeded Hawks by a final score of 7-1.
“Sometimes it’s the breaks, too, but 7-1, it’s not little breaks,” RSM Head Coach Monte Harpenau said. “We have to do better on the little things defensively and offensively to compete down here.”
Cronin strands runners at third
RSM pitcher Marina Cronin was able to work out of a couple tough situations in the first two innings. The Warhawks got a runner to third with two outs in the opening frame. Cronin was able to get cleanup hitter Jaycee Neer to pop out to shortstop Mya Bunkers on the infield to end the inning. It was a busy night on the infield for Bunkers who made seven of the 21 outs in the field.
“It’s fun to be in the action,” Bunkers said. “I really enjoy that. It’s way more fun than not getting any balls during the game.”
The first inning threat came with two outs, but the Warhawks had an even better threat in the second as Kaylee Bauer reached on a bunt single, stole second base and then was sacrificed to third. Cronin buckled down and got the next two outs, including a strikeout to end the inning, one of her five strikeouts in the game.
Warhawks able to break the ice
While Cronin was able to escape damage in the first two innings, that wasn’t the case in the third. Lexi Clendenen doubled to lead off the third inning. Kaylee Tigner knocked in the first run with a base hit to left field. Neer, who led the team with 12 doubles entering the state tournament, added another to her season total with a double to left-center field to make it a 2-0 game. She added another double in the fifth inning, part of a 3-for-4 game with a pair of runs batted in, to make it 3-1. Bauer added an RBI base hit for the team’s fourth run.
“They hit the ball hard a few times,” Harpenau said. “I can’t take anything away from them. We knew they were good hitters when they came in.”
RSM bats held mostly quiet
Remsen St. Mary’s struggled to get their bats going most of the game as they were held to just three hits in seven innings by Alivia Ruble.
“Some of it was we chased the changeup,” Harpenau said. “I’m not saying it wasn’t a strike, but I believe in if you don’t have two strikes, let that pitch go unless your really have got it read and can sit on it. The other thing was she went high when she got ahead and we chased it a lot. She did a great job of changing the view and changing the speeds and that was tough on us.”
Carmindee Ricke got the team’s first hit to lead off the second inning, but the team wasn’t able to capitalize as Ruble struck out the next three batters, part of her 11 total strikeouts in the game.
“She was really good,” Halle Galles said of the opposing pitcher. “I think we could have adjusted better. We were just expecting a bunch of different pitches, but we could have definitely adjusted. She was fast.”
The Hawks were able to put a run on the board in the fourth. Galles sent a ball to to right field and was able to reach third base on the play. Bunkers then drove her home on a base hit to left field to make it a 2-1 game.
“I just realized I needed to wait for the ball because she has a really good changeup, really good rise ball,” Bunkers said. “You just got to wait for your pitch and watch her hands because you can see it coming off the ball right away. We started figuring that out. It felt good to bring a run in and have our girls get excited towards that part of the game.”
With Bunkers on and nobody out, the Hawks were unable to continue the rally as Ruble sent the next three batters down in order.
Southeast Warren was able to pad their lead in the top of the seventh with three runs. Two came home on a double from Emma King and another run scampered home on a wild pitch.
The win moved the Warhawks to the semifinal round with a 24-4 record. After finishing in third place a year ago, the Warhawks advanced into Friday’s championship game with a 6-2 win over top-seeded North Linn in the semifinals.
Southeast Warren will play Twin Cedars in Friday’s 1A championship game as they seek their first state title since 1968.
RSM seeks return next year
The Remsen St. Mary’s softball team was making their second state tournament appearance in a row as they fell to 27-3 with the loss. The Hawks have no seniors on this year’s roster, so they hope to be back to Fort Dodge in 2023.
“We came and we lost and now next year we want to come back and do something,” Galles said. “We got here and we just want to do damage next year.”