BOONE — No win has been sweeter for the Perry softball team in several years than their 6-1 victory over Boone in their Class 4A Region 7 Quarterfinal July 11.
The Toreadors had won eight consecutive games over Perry, with Jayette seniors Frankie Eklund, Katie England and Alexa Gilmore never having defeated Boone. The Toareadors had embarrassed the Jayettes with a 25-6 win at the PAC June 20, adding to Perry’s desire for victory and making the postseason triumph even sweeter for the Jayettes. The win sent Perry into Saturday’s regional semifinal at ninth-ranked Norwalk (see story, above).
Boone was the visiting team on the scoreboard and immediately threatened to pick up where they had left off in the previous game, as a Carrie Overland single and walks to Kennedy Vinchattle and Tacie Blunk loaded the bases with one out.
However, Perry starter Emma Olejniczak calmly struck out one batter and induced a fly out to Victoria Hegstrom in center field to stifle the rally.
Perry got down to business in the bottom of the frame when Lindsey Kunch singled. She moved to second by tagging up on a pop out behind the plate, then went to third on an Eklund single. Kunch was called out at the plate when Julie Diw hit a ground ball that was thrown home, but Kunch jarred the ball loose from catcher Blunk and was ruled safe on an appeal to the base umpire, who had an unobstructed view of the play.
England singled home Eklund, with Diw scoring and England gunned down at the dish on an Alexa Gilmore base hit. The rally continued when Kylie Brandt singled, a hit that chased starter Breanna Hunter as Sam McIlwain stepped into the circle in relief.
McIlwain was greeted by a RBI-single from Olejniczak, with Rachel Kinney plating two runs on a single before a strikeout ended the inning with an emotional Jayette squad holding a 6-0 lead.
Boone rallied in the third when Dianna Slight walked, Overland reached on an error and Blunk drew a one-out walk to load the bases. Slight scored and the runners moved to second and third when Bailey Schminke lifted a sacrifice fly to Eklund in left field.
Kunch then came up with a huge defensive play, diving to her right and knocking down a hard-hit grounder from Hunter. The junior second baseman quickly got to her feet, picked up the ball and fired in time to nail Hunter by a step at first to end the inning, the play saving one — and perhaps two — runs from scoring.
Perry made little headway against McIlwain, stranding a runner in the second, fourth and fifth innings, but Olejniczak was equally as tough, setting down the Toreadors in order in the fourth and fifth frames after having done the same in the second.
Boone loaded the bases again in the sixth with bloop hits from Hunter and Laura Anderson and a single from Gabby Woods, but Olejniczak whiffed pinch hitter Liz Sternberg on strikes to avoid damage.
A fine catch of a foul pop by first baseman Anderson and the second of two impressive running catches in deep center field by Slight kept Perry from doing damage in the sixth.
The Boone seventh began ominously for Perry as Slight walked and Overland was hit by a pitch, but Olejniczak forced a pop out and got Blunk to line into a double-play by Diw at first base to seal the victory.
Olejniczak allowed one unearned run while yielding four hits, five walks and a hit batsman in seven innings. She picked up the win in part by striking out seven and stranding nine Toreadors on base, six of them in scoring position.
Hunter lasted two-thirds of an inning and was assessed five runs on four hits in taking the loss. McIlwain threw 5-1/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts.
Tuesday, July 9
No. 2 DC-G 10, PERRY 5
DALLAS CENTER — For the second time in the season Class 4A No. 2 DC-G scored a 10-5 win over a determined Perry squad in Raccoon River Conference softball.
The Fillies had to rally late for a win at the PAC early in the season, but in the second meeting between the two teams used an eight-run first inning to stake an early lead and holding on to complete the season sweep July 9.
DC-G raced to their quick lead but was then outscored by Perry the rest of the way. The Jayettes scored twice in the second and once in the fourth, but two Fillies runs in the fourth pushed the lead to 10-3. Perry added two additional runs in their final at-bat to set the final score.
Emma Olejniczak yielded 10 runs (all earned) on 13 hits and six walks in taking the loss. She finished with four strikeouts.
Julie Diw had a single, a double and a RBI for Perry, with Katelyn Whelchel and Olejniczak adding base hits. Frankie Eklund, Alexa Gilmore and Kylie Brandt also had RBIs, with Katie England drawing two walks while Lindsey Kunch and Whelchel also walked.
Paige Lowary had three hits for DC-G, with Brooke Kramer, Macey Wolfe, Rachel Lowary and Jackie Peyton adding two hits apiece. Peyton had three RBIs and Tabitha Taylor and Allison O’Brien two RBIs apiece, with each of the Lowary sisters hitting a double.
The win went to Paige Lowary, who allowed three runs (two earned) on one hit and three walks while striking out 10 in four innings. Rachel Lowary fanned three and walked one in two innings of scoreless relief, with Emily Ellerman tagged for two runs on three hits and a walk while pitching the top of the seventh.