IKM-Manning second baseman Payton Sporrer (left) is unable to apply the tag as Logan-Magnolia’s Kylan Straight steals second during Thursday night’s WIC Softball Tournament championship game. The Panthers beat the Wolves 7-5. IKM-Manning senior Taylor Croghan drove in the Wolves’ first run vs. Logan-Magnolia with this bunt single and later added a two-run double during Thursday’s WIC Tournament title game. (Photos by Mike Oeffner) IKM-Manning left fielder Emily Kerkhoff makes a nice running catch near the foul line against Logan-Magnolia. Kate Crawford takes a cut during the WIC Tournament championship game.

Panthers hold off Wolves for WIC Tourney crown

IKM-Manning softball team nearly erases 6-0 deficit, but has 16-game win streak halted by Lo-Ma 7-5

 OAKLAND (June 28) -- With the regular season and conference tournament officially in the books, the IKM-Manning softball team is ready to start a new winning streak just in time for postseason play.
 The previous streak - an impressive 16-gamer - ended late Thursday night as ninth-ranked (2A) Logan-Magnolia held off the second-ranked Wolves 7-5 in the championship game of the Western Iowa Conference Tournament.
 Moved from Logan to Oakland due to Thursday’s heavy morning storms, the WIC semifinals and title game turned into a six-hour event. IKM-M, the regular-season league champion and top tourney seed, hammered Riverside 11-1 in six innings in the first semifinal, then waited patiently as third-seeded Lo-Ma pulled away late to rout second-seeded Treynor 13-2.
 The Panthers carried that momentum straight into the title game, bolting to a 6-0 lead against IKM-Manning senior pitcher Peyton Gross in the first two innings. The Wolves would fight back gamely, scoring two runs in the second and three in the fifth to make it a one-run game, but Lo-Ma sophomore Reanna Rife was able to quiet the Wolves’ bats the rest of the way and pick up the save in relief of Abbie Carlson.
 The Wolves have now played in five straight WIC Tournament title games since joining the conference in 2014. They have placed first twice (2014, 2017) and finished second to Lo-Ma the other three times.
 IKM-M (22-2 overall) beat the Panthers (24-6) in two tightly-contested regular-season matchups and won this year’s WIC crown with a 17-0 record. The two rivals cannot meet again this year until the state tournament as they have been placed in separate regionals by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.
 Lo-Ma outhit the Wolves 12-11, drew nine walks (six were intentional passes) and stole seven bases. Payton Sporrer (3-for-4), Taylor Croghan (2-for-4) and Zoey Melton (2-for-4) all had multi-hit games for IKM-Manning. Croghan scored twice and had three RBI.

Western Iowa Conference Softball Tourney
First Round Scores • Tuesday, June 26
Griswold 9, Missouri Valley 8        Audubon 13, Tri-Center 3 (6)
Quarterfinal Scores • Tuesday, June 26
IKM-Manning 12, Griswold 0 (4)    Treynor 11, Audubon 1 (5)
Riverside 3, Underwood 2              Logan-Magnolia 11, AHSTW 1 (6)
Semifinal & Championship Games • Thursday, June 28 • at Oakland
IKM-Manning 11, Riverside 1 (6)      Logan-Magnolia 13, Treynor 2
Championship: Logan-Magnolia 7, IKM-Manning 5

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