Perry baseball, softball head into the postseason
After closing out the regular season this week, the Bluejays and Jayettes are in win or go home mode. (Note: Games covered June 29-July 5)
After Wednesday’s regular season finale against Clarke (played after printing), the Bluejays load up the bus to take on Grinnell (32-3), one of the odds-on favorites to not only make the state tournament but play in the title game.
There is at least some familiarity with the Tigers, as Perry played them last season: A 10-0 loss that ended in the fourth inning that ended with just two Bluejays getting on base. With a Perry team that holds over virtually the entire roster, that appears to be the benchmark. Get on base more, take the game to full regulation, and keep the score closer: All would be signs of improvement even if the Tigers get the W like they have done 32 other times this year en route to a Little Hawkeye Conference title.
This season, the Tigers averaged 7.4 runs per game, and their run differential of 5.3 runs rank fourth among Class 3A teams thanks to one of the best bullpens in the state. They have five pitchers with 30 or more strikeouts and an ERA below 2.00 this year.
In previous years, this was a matchup that might be looked at with some fear, but Thursday’s regional quarterfinal with Boone (10-23) comes in a new shade.
Before losing 14-7 to Perry in the middle of June, Boone had won seven straight against the Jayettes- six of which were by at least seven runs. But times have changed. Thanks in part to leaving the Raccoon River Conference, the Jayettes finished the regular season with a winning record for the first time since 2017 (their last win over Boone as well) and they’ve started to heat up by winning five of their last seven games.
That has largely been thanks to a strong group at the top of the order led by perennial all-state talent Lydia Olejniczak leading the team with 43 hits, 31 RBI, five home runs, and 20 stolen bases. In a one-to-one comparison, Erin Ades is just as capable of taking control with her 45 hits, 43 RBI, and six home runs (in 10 more games) this season for the Toreadors.
But as Boone found out in the loss against the Jayettes earlier this season, Perry isn’t just Olejniczak, getting significant power from a pair of newcomers. Eighth-grader Karagyn Whelchel has commanded the plate with pure pose, racking up 38 total bases and 19 RBI. Sophomore Emmalee Bell joined the varsity roster this year and has 43 total bases and 25 RBI to her name. No other Toreador not named Ades has joined the 40/20 club this year.