Perry baseball, softball seasons come to a close

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief

The Bluejays and Jayettes put in some tough fights this season, but with losses in the opening rounds of the playoffs, are now looking towards the start of the new school year.

Baseball (1-21)

The Bluejays’ season comes to a close, exiting regional competition after an 11-1 loss in the first round Friday night against Grinnell (33-4).

While there was at least a ray of hope that the Tigers could fall down considering that they dropped their regular season finale against a team barely hanging onto a winning record, the cards favored the home team from the start. Of Grinnell’s three prior losses, each were followed by a win. That pattern continued against Perry, putting up 11 runs in four innings.

However, Perry was able to at least avoid becoming another statistic. 

Gavin Hegstrom gets set at the plate during a game against West Central Valley on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Perry.

Through the regular season, nine of Grinnell’s wins were via shutouts. The likes of Dallas Center-Grimes (twice), Ballard, West Marshall and Norwalk all failed to put up a single run. Thanks to a late hit from Gavin Hegstrom driving in Kaelan Davis, the Jays narrowly avoided becoming the tenth such casualty. 

On the mound, Carter Iben put in the last 3.1 innings of his career. He threw three strikeouts and one walks with six earned runs allowed before Davis came in for the final two outs of the game. This was the 12th game of Grinnell’s season scoring 10 or more runs, and the 11th game Perry allowed that many runs.

Softball (13-13)

From the first at-bats of the game, Thursday’s regional quarterfinal against Boone (11-23) strayed far from their previous meeting in June.

In that game, Perry snapped a seven game losing streak against the Toreadors with a 14-7 road win. That was largely thanks to the Jayettes’ exploding for a once-in-a-lifetime nine-run third inning. After that inning, the Toreadors would score at least one run in the next four innings to go on a 7-4 run.

Evidently, they kept that momentum up by scoring five runs in the first two innings Thursday. Keeping the Bluejays at bay all game with just four hits allowed, that lead ended in a 12-0 winning margin for Boone to advance to the semifinals.

It was truly a one-of-a-kind night for Boone; one where everything went right, and no amount of work would have changed the outcome.

Emmalee Bell waits for the ball to get an out during a regional game against Boone on Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Perry.

Erin Ades entered the game as fifth in the Raccoon River Conference with six home runs. She jumped up to fourth in the rankings Thursday night with two more roundtrippers, her second game this season with multiple home runs. She’d also get some helps from her friends Kennedy Lewis and Kelsea Moorman each hitting home runs. Not even last year’s power hungry squad had four home runs in a single game. Thursday was the perfect storm that was completely off the forecast.

As for the Jayettes, with a double, Lydia Olejniczak recorded the team’s lone extra base hit. Taylor Atwell, Aidyn Hood and Karagyn Whelchel also got on base with singles. With Boone’s pitcher avoiding any walks, Perry had just four total players on base. That meant all 21 outs were made with the Jayettes putting the ball in play. And with the Toreadors going the whole game without an error in the field, found themselves their first shutout of the year.

Had the Jayettes flipped the script and swept Boone for the first time since 2017, they’d have run into ADM in the semifinals. Boone would lose that matchup 2-0 on Saturday.