IKM-Manning shortstop Paige Gaskill tags out Logan-Magnolia’s Abbie Carlson for the third out of the Panthers’ two-run fourth inning Thursday night. Carlson’s two-run single gave Lo-Ma a 5-4 lead but the Wolves rallied to win 7-5. IKM-Manning catcher Shyanne Sporrer (center) celebrates the victory with Peyton Gross and Katelyn Crawford.  Wolves’ senior Peyton Gross struck out nine Lo-Ma batters in Thursday’s victory. (Photos by Mike Oeffner) IKM-Manning’s Sammy Halbur, who belted a two-run homer in the first inning, puts the ball in play during Thursday’s win.

Wolves outlast Panthers in top 10 softball clash

 IRWIN (May 30) -- It was a typical IKM-Manning vs. Logan-Magnolia softball game.
 There were balls hit over and off the fence, clutch strikeouts, defensive gems and two lead changes.
 When it was all said and done, the fourth-ranked (2A) Wolves scored a key early-season win in the Western Iowa Conference title chase by outlasting the 9th-ranked Panthers, 7-5, on Thursday night in Irwin.
 IKM-Manning led 4-1 after two innings, then fell behind by a run before tying the game in the fifth and scoring twice in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead for good. Wolves’ senior pitcher Peyton Gross retired Lo-Ma in order in the seventh - her first 1-2-3 inning of the night - to close out the victory.
 “We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” said IKM-M head coach Joy Gross. “They’re tough up and down the lineup... I was just really thrilled with the way our kids came back and just stuck in there."
 IKM-Manning improved to 4-0 in the WIC (and overall) and also picked up a 5-1 win at Treynor Friday night. The Panthers fell to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in the WIC.
   Gross (4-0) allowed nine hits but just one earned run in the contest, striking out nine and walking two. The Buena Vista University recruit has already pitched a five-inning no-hitter against Griswold and recorded 20 strikeouts vs. Tri-Center earlier this season.
 IKM-M matched Lo-Ma’s total with nine hits, five of which went for extra bases. Gross and Shyanne Sporrer finished with two hits each and Sammy Halbur homered in the first inning and had three RBI.

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