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July 12, 2014

Softball: Indians' upset bid falls short

VAN HORNE — Although Camanche showed improvement against Benton Community in a Class 3A regional softball semifinal Friday night, it still wasn’t enough.

The Indians (13-19) lost a 1-0 nailbiter to the top-ranked Bobcats (37-4), and the lone run didn’t even come on a hit. The first-inning run scored on a passed ball that snuck through the legs of Camanche catcher Carly Wehde.

On May 31, the two teams faced each other and the result was lopsided. Benton beat the Indians 10-0 that day.

“I think the girls played their hearts out,” Camanche coach Erin Schlotfeldt said. “Morgan (Mussmann) pitched very well against a very good team.”

Savannah Halstead, who scored the only run, reached base on a shallow fly ball that found the grass in center field. She got to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Lea Brunssen and took third base on a Jordan Nissen error at shortstop.

Meanwhile, the Indians had their fair share of chances of scoring — and right off the bat.

Nissen led off the game with a double that one-hopped the left-field fence. She advanced to third base on a Lindsey Grams sacrifice bunt, but Libby Schnoor and Julia Moore struck out to end the threat.

In the second inning, Maddie Parker saw a couple of pitches before she launched a double that rolled to the center-field wall. Again, the Indians were retired in succession by Benton pitcher Amber Fiser.

“She is the best pitcher I think we’ve faced in my two seasons here,” Schlotfeldt said. “We came out firing; we didn’t get down if we had bad at-bats. But not getting hits with runners in scoring position is a problem we’ve had all season.

“I’m just proud the girls were able to get runners on base to give us the opportunity,” Schlotfeldt said.

From the third inning on, Camanche got just three more batters on base and in scoring position. However, Fiser brought her best stuff when adversity was breathing down her neck.

“I knew I had my defense behind me and tried not to let anything bother me,” Fiser, the Benton sophomore pitcher committed to Northwestern (Ill.), said.

The play of the game came in the fifth inning when Nissen was at-bat and launched a deep fly ball to left field, hoping that the ball would find an opening with one out. Benton left fielder Shelby Hulsebus hurried over to make a leaping catch at the wall.

It was just that type of night.

“I was hoping she would catch it. I knew it wasn’t going to be over the fence; it was going to be close though,” Fiser said.

Fiser credited the Indians for giving Benton a much tougher game than the first meeting.

“They have gotten a lot better, I will give them that,” Fiser said. “They’re a lot better hitting team, and they came ready to play.”

While the loss may sting a little bit now, the future of the Indians looks pretty good.

“It’s bittersweet,” Schlotfeldt said. “I don’t want this to be the last season I get with these seniors, but we have a lot of young players who we’re really excited about.”

StrokeStyle/$ID/Solid

BENTON 1, CAMANCHE 0

Camanche      000     000     0     —     0     4     1

Benton     100     000     x     —     1     3     1

Morgan Mussmann (6 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 0 er, 2bb, 4 so) and Carly Wehde; Amber Fiser (7 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 0 er, 0 bb, 12 so). Multiple hits – Camanche (Maddie Parker 2). 2B – Camanche (Jordan Nissen, Parker); Benton (Alyssa Wiebel).

 

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