REGIONAL ROUND-UP: West Marshall upends Atlantic to reach state

PHOTO COURTESY MID-IOWA ENTERPRISE • The West Marshall softball team poses with its Class 3A state qualifier banner after beating Atlantic 3-2 in Monday’s Region 8 championship game in Atlantic. The win clinched the Trojans’ first state trip since back-to-back appearances in 2002 and 2003.

ATLANTIC — A three-run eruption in the third inning provided the deciding run as the Class 3A No. 10 West Marshall softball team secured its first state tournament appearance since 2003 with a 3-2 victory over No. 5 Atlantic in Monday’s Region 8 final.

West Marshall (33-6) scored all three of its runs with two outs in the bottom of the third. Katie Price drove in the first run with a hit and Georgia Porter followed with a two-run single to put the visiting Trojans on top for good.

“Atlantic is a great team, no doubt about it,” said West Marshall head coach Todd Verwers. “We got some timely hits.”

Atlantic (32-9) answered with a run in the fifth and another in the sixth, including a solo home run by Ally Anderson in the sixth, to bring the host Trojans within one run. But West Marshall, which made only one error, helped pitcher Kallie Malloy get through the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning. Malloy ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts as West Marshall earned the 11th state tournament appearance in school history.

The Trojans will face top-ranked Davenport Assumption (41-1), last year’s 3A runner-up, in the first round next Monday night in Fort Dodge. They will square off at 7 p.m. on the Buena Vista University diamond at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” said Verwers. “Over the last two years they’ve bought into my plan and everything we’ve wanted them to do. Some of them don’t have the roles they want … but they’ve stuck with it, they’ve stuck together and they’ve believed in what we’re trying to do.

“This is the pinnacle of high school softball. You get to go play in Fort Dodge.”

Belle Plaine 3, AGWSR 2

ACKLEY — After three-straight trips to state, the AGWSR softball team has suffered back-to-back years of heartbreak.

The eighth-ranked Cougars fell 3-2 at home to No. 12 Belle Plaine in Monday’s Class 1A Region 6 final, securing the Plainsmen a spot in the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

AGWSR, which capped three years in a row at state with a championship in 2015, was stopped one run short. Belle Plaine scratched out a 2-0 lead before AGWSR got on the board in the top of the third inning, but another run for the Plainsmen was more than the Cougars could atone for.

Belle Plaine leadoff batter Shaylee Dodd reached on a walk in the fifth, stole second and third and scored on a sacrifice bunt to make it a 3-1 game.

AGWSR fired back in the sixth with Ali Gerbracht’s leadoff single, and she lated scored on a wild pitch, but the Cougars left the bases loaded for the second time in the game and ultimately sealed their fate.

Mount Vernon 12, East Marshall 2

MOUNT VERNON — The No. 8 Mount Vernon Mustangs notched their third-straight trip to state by beating East Marshall 12-2 in Monday’s Class 3A Region 5 finals.

East Marshall (17-18) struck first with a run in the first inning but didn’t score again until the bottom of the seventh. Mount Vernon (28-15) tallied 12 runs in between to bank the program’s fifth state tournament berth.

East Marshall was trying to get back to Fort Dodge for the first time since making three consecutive appearances from 2012-14.

No statistics were available as of press time.