Perry softball, baseball entering final week of regular season
Perry is entering some exciting territory now in the final week of the regular season. (Note: Games covered June 21-27)
For the first time since 2017, the Jayettes have a winning record over 20 games into the season. That came courtesy of winning three of their last four games (and stretching back another week, are 5-2 over the last seven games).
Kicking off a good week, the Jayettes won a 7-5 contest over Urbandale (12-19). While the J-Hawks have fallen on hard times as the last place team in the CIML Central, nevertheless, it’s a win over a Class 5A team. Those don’t come around every day.
Making that possible, Lydia Olejniczak had another big night at the plate, raking in three runs thanks to three hits that included two big doubles. Pitcher Maci Tunink also proved her worth with a bat, knocking in two runs on top of her two-hit performance. From the circle, Tunink struck out only one Urbandale hitter as Perry’s fielders stepped up by committing a lone error.
Perry was knocked down 12-2 by PCM (15-9) the following day on senior night. Macy Killmer was the lone senior that was on the depth chart Wednesday but did not get on base. In the field at third base, Killmer had two assists, one putout and no errors. Jayna Kenney is the only other senior on this year’s roster but has only been able to participate in one game after having a late season basketball injury.
The following two games against Madrid (4-18) and Greene County (10-12) got the Jayettes back on track with wins of 6-2 and 4-1, respectively. Stats for the Greene County game were not ready at the time of writing. Against Madrid, eighth-grader Karagyn Whelchel led the team with three hits including two doubles, and record two RBI. Pinch running for her, Taryn Nehring scored twice.
The Jayettes also learned they will host Boone (9-20) in the first round of regional action on July 7. Perry previously beat the Toreadors 14-7 this season.
As the Bluejays continue to look for improvements and consistency, the team ran into a heap of sticky situations in the last four games. That included three games scoring one run or less, one of the team’s more frustrating dry spells of the season.
But of the week, Perry’s June 22 loss by 14-4 to PCM (10-9) was a sign of some collective improvement compared to the first few weeks of the season. Back on June 3, the Jays lost to the Mustangs by a score of 15-0. By comparison, a 10-run loss was a sign of promise. And for that matter, there could be some more familiarity built in the years moving forward considering it was eighth-grader Shay Burns that handled pitching duties for the Mustangs in his first varsity appearance of the year.
Perry was able to rough up the newcomer early on, scoring at least one in three straight innings. Before the second meeting with PCM, the Bluejays had only scored in two consecutive innings. Unfortunately, PCM’s offense was also clipping together runs with greater significance and led 8-4 through four innings. With another six tacked on to the ensuing inning, the game was automatically ended by run rule.
Still, it was a progressive night on the bases for the Jays, with two thirds of the batting order getting at least one hit. Kane Killmer led the team with two hits including a two-bagger.
Two days later, Perry lost 6-0 to West Central Valley (6-17) on senior night, ending one of the Bluejays’ longest standing win streaks. Before Friday’s game, the Bluejays won six straight against the Wildcats dating back to 2009. Seniors Carter Iben, Caden Steva and Kaleb Lyddon were all honored at the game. They’ll have two more opportunities to win on their home field with upcoming games against Winterset (10-13) and Clarke (1-21).
The Bluejays will then head to top-seeded Grinnell (28-3) for the opening substate round on July 8.