Vikings advance to next round; Wolves eliminated
In the bottom of the 2nd inning with one out and her team trailing by one, Junior Viking Graycen Partlow dumped a ball into right field clearing the bases and making it a 3-1 game en route to an eventual 9-2 Vikings victory.
Partlow stepped up again in the bottom of the 3rd inning when she connected at the plate for a two out, 2-run double with the bases loaded, putting her team up 7-1.
“Graycen is Graycen,” said Vikings Head Coach Trevor Gipple. “She’s always came through for us in key moments. She’s great at driving the ball to the opposite field. I’m just proud that she executed not once, but twice. She had two doubles over there.”
Vikings Sophomore Loralei Wahling got the ball to start the night against Wolves Freshman Karlee Arp.
In the top of the 1st inning, the Wolves got their bats going when leadoff hitter Anna Stangl hit a double and later scored on an RBI groundout by Alikxa McGinn, giving the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
Partlow also led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a double, but was unable to score keeping the game at 1-0.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Vikings Freshman Braxton Gipple reached first base via a dropped ball by Wolves Junior Alexis Gruhn. Later in the inning, Partlow came to bat with the bases loaded and hit a 3-run double giving the Vikings a 3-1 lead.
Wahling returned to the circle in the top of the 3rd and pitched a scoreless inning as the Wolves had an opportunity to score, but left Taylor Beckendorf stranded on second base.
Arp ran into some trouble in the bottom of the 3rd inning when the Vikings scored six runs off her starting with a two out, 2-run double by Bella Lamp, a 2-run double by Partlow and a 2-run single by Halle Goodman breaking the game wide open at 9-1, forcing her to exit the game after 2 2/3 innings pitched.
“We were one batter away from getting out,” said Wolves Head Coach Joy Gross. “They got the one hit they needed and that just kind of broke it open for them and they found success. I thought Karlee did a great job. She had a great second half to the season.”
Ella Richards took over in the circle following Arp for the remainder of the game and didn’t allow another Viking run to score.
The Wolves got another run in the top of the 4th inning off Wahling when Hannah McKinney had an RBI single, making it 9-2 Vikings.
In the top of the 7th, Wahling got the final out of the game on a line drive to Partlow at shortstop, securing the victory and ending the Wolves season.
“Last time we went against them, we didn’t have our bats going, so I was really happy that this time we did,” Wahling said.
The Wolves end their season with a 4-22 record, but Gross is optimistic about the future of IKM-Manning softball.
“We’ve got a ton of varsity experience and their time is coming,” Gross said. “We just need to keep working. They’re going to do some good things. They’re going to make some noise next year and I’m going to be excited to see what they do during the school year.”
The Vikings have punched their ticket to the next round where they will play the 26-3 Missouri Valley Lady Reds July 5 on the road. The Lady Reds are led by Audrie Kohl with a .419 batting average, 39 hits and 33 runs batted in. In the circle, Kohl has 24 wins with 271 strikeouts and a 1.55 earned run average.
“We have a good competition next game and I’m really excited to go against them and compete,” Wahling said. “The key is attacking the ball defensively, offensively be really picky and try to hit in gaps as best we can.”