Vikings’ season ends in 1st round of Regionals
Published 9:26 pm Monday, July 7, 2014
NORTHWOOD — In the first game of the postseason, the Northwood-Kensett softball team faced a familiar nonconference opponent.
Headed into the game, the Vikings beat North Iowa in two of three regular-season matchups.
“I know my girls thought they could win, and I thought that would be to our advantage, but it just didn’t go our way,” said Northwood-Kensett coach Daryl Love.
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The Vikings were eliminated from the Class 1A, Region 2 tournament with a 14-4 home loss Monday against North Iowa.
Northwood-Kensett took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a single to shortstop by Shelby Low to drive in Chandler Capitani.
Low kept North Iowa scoreless in the top of the second with an inning-ending strikeout.
The Bison responded in the third with a leadoff double that spurred two runs. Northwood-Kensett recaptured the lead in the fourth when Katelyn Jaspers hit an RBI single. On the same play, the Vikings added another run on a North Iowa throwing error, and Jaspers advanced to third base.
North Iowa broke the game open in the fifth inning by scoring five runs. The Bison finished on a tear with 12 runs in the last three innings.
“We got through it early on and came right back to take the lead, and I thought we were fine,” Love said. “I thought if we could keep that going, we could put some pressure back on them because they made some errors, too. But we didn’t stay settled down after that.”
Low lost her first game this year against North Iowa from the pitching circle. She led the Vikings to a 10-8 win on June 7 at the Lake Mills Tournament and a 6-2 victory on June 10 at Northwood. In the Vikings’ 11-0 loss at the West Hancock Tournament against the Bison on June 21, Northwood-Kensett utilized two pitchers who hadn’t thrown an inning all season, Love said.
In the first win, Low gave up eight hits. In the second, three. On Monday, North Iowa had 17, and it was paired with five errors by Northwood-Kensett’s defense.
“Shelby pitched well enough,” Love said. “I know she got tired at the end, but it wasn’t her fault. We should’ve been out of a lot of those innings a lot quicker.”
Capitani, Chloe Breitsprecher and Alayna Oleson led the Vikings at the plate with two hits each.
Northwood-Kensett finished the season 6-17-1 overall.
“We had a lot of errors that we hadn’t made before,” Low said. “It doesn’t feel good to walk off with a loss especially when we knew we could win because we’ve done it twice already.”
Seniors Kayla Branstad, Capitani and Jaspers played their last game as for the Vikings.
Love said he’s undecided about his return to the dugout next year.
“The girls have been asking me, and I told them I’m thinking about it,” he said.
Statistics are in the Scoreboard: July 7 post.