Perry softball adds star power, baseball loses two close calls
It was an adventurous week on the diamond this week for Perry's softball and baseball teams. (Note: Games covered May 31-June 6)
The Bluejays kept flirting with a win in the past week. And not just wins, but capital W's. Of course, a loss is a loss, but for a rebuilding program, these close games can mean everything.
Since last facing Martensdale-St Marys in 2014, the Blue Devils have gone to eight state tournaments- a perennial contender in Class 1A. At 5-4, this season has gotten off to rougher start than they're used to but they're a quality program through and through.
On Saturday, the Bluejays put up a fight and scored the first three runs. It wasn't until the fifth inning that Martensdale got on the board, but it was an avalanche, leading to an 8-4 win.
It was a career-day for leadoff man Carter Iben who went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored three times. Owen Myers and Kane Killmer had three and two hits, respectively, marking the first time Perry had a trio of multi-hit performances.
Three days prior, the Bluejays gave Roland-Story a battle. Tied 4-4 through six innings, it took a walk-off hit for the Norsemen to notch the 5-4 win. While Roland-Story may have taken a step back without their all-state shortstop from the past two years, a one-run loss was a mighty improvement over Perry's 12-2 loss last year.
A major part of that close call came from Killmer having another two-hit performance, driving in two runs to boot. Gavin Hegstrom was a good beneficiary, crossing home plate twice.
In other games, Perry lost to both PCM and Des Moines Christian by double digits.
Win-Lose-Win, or so the pattern has been so far this season for the Jayettes.
After the season-opening win, the Jayettes fell 9-2 to Roland-Story (3-4) but immediately bounced back with a conference win over PCM (4-4). That was followed by the Jayettes splitting games at their tournament on Saturday, losing 8-7 to Glenwood (4-3) but winning 12-0 against Baxter. And to keep the pattern alive, Perry fell 10-7 to Greene County.
All numerology aside, this string of games has brought out some of the best in Perry's roster.
Shortstop Lydia Olejniczak may have been overshadowed in the season-opener, but with home runs against PCM and Baxter, she found her groove and now leads the team with nine hits and nine runs. Also against Baxter, sophomore newcomer Emmalee Bell inserted herself into the spotlight after hitting two round-trippers.
Also in the vein of Olejniczak — who made an immediate impact as an incoming freshman three years ago — eighth-grader Karagyn Whelchel has also made her name known. Through the first five recorded games, Whelchel is second on the team with eight hits, keeping herself good company with the likes of senior Macy Killmer who has a team-high eight RBI.