Wolves’ third baseman Kate Crawford puts the ball in play. IKM-Manning shortstop Paige Gaskill connects for one of her two base hits during Wednesday’s regional game vs. Missouri Valley. Wolves’ center fielder Taylor Croghan catches a fly ball.

Regional Softball: Cook girls lead Mo. Valley past Wolves, 6-3

IKM-Manning finishes with 22-7 record

 IRWIN (July 5) -- Two different times the IKM-Manning softball team rallied back to tie Missouri Valley here Wednesday night, but the Wolves were unable to get the big hit they needed to take a lead.
 In the end, 12 stranded IKM-M base runners proved to be the biggest difference as the Lady Reds scored three late runs to knock off the 15th-rated Wolves, 6-3, in a Class 2-A regional quarterfinal between Western Iowa Conference foes.
 The final outcome evened the season series between the two teams at 2-2 and was in stark contrast to IKM-Manning’s 8-2 win over Mo. Valley just five days earlier in the championship game of the WIC Tournament.
 The Wolves outhit the Lady Reds 8-6 on the night but committed three costly errors in finishing their season at 22-7 overall. Missouri Valley (22-10) advanced to Friday’s Region 7 semifinal where it lost to No. 11 Logan-Magnolia 5-0.
 “We didn’t make any breaks and we didn’t get any breaks. That’s the way it goes,” said IKM-M coach Joy Gross.
 The biggest story line of the game from the Lady Reds’ perspective was the pitching of freshman Ashlyn Cook (4-2) over the last five innings.
 Cook was hit in the face by a ball during pre-game warmups and suffered a possible broken nose. Older sister Lexi Cook started the game in the circle, pitching for the first time in three years, and gave the team two innings. In the third, Ashlyn Cook entered in relief - blood stains on her uniform and gauze in her nose - and allowed five hits and one run the rest of the way.
 Lexi Cook was a force on the base paths throughout the game, going 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and two RBI.

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