Herald Staff Report
Having scored 25 runs between two Region 4 games, Don Bosco’s bats entered Monday night’s final on fire. Standing between the Dons and a Class 1A state tournament birth were the defense-oriented Mohawks.
Although Marquette Catholic cooled Don Bosco down to three runs, it proved one-run too many, with the Dons stealing the game in the bottom of the seventh inning to win 3-2.
“The girls had a goal to make it back to the state tournament,” Marquette coach Melissa Sturm said. The Mohawks made it to the Elite-8 last year before losing to Earlham 8-0. “We just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them.”
Despite the low-scoring game, the contest featured a considerable amount of offense. Don Bosco posted 13 hits to the Mohawks’ five. Brittany Hickson and Tori Even both homered for the Dons in the fourth inning to knot the score 2-2.
Marquette also made use of the bases. Sturm said that both teams had runners on base in six of seven innings.
Yet, the Mohawks’ defense kept the game within reach and helped maintain a 2-0 lead through four. They got timely runs in the third and fourth innings off Justine Kalmes’ bases-loaded walk and an error allowing Nicole Blum to score in the fourth. Blum led her team with two hits.
“We had some kids make some big plays,” Sturm said, making special note of the first inning. Right fielder Anna Ambrosy snagged a flyout then threw a laser to third base. The double play ended the inning and kept the Dons off the board.
“They had runners on in basically every inning and we were able to get out of it,” Sturm added.
But after leading for most of the game, Marquette faltered late. With nobody out and Hickson on first base, Cate Paulsen cracked a walk-off RBI double in the seventh to end the Mohawks’ season.
The birth to state coincided with Dons’ coach Jane Becker earning her 800th career win.
Sturm lamented a walk-off loss is discouraging, but added praises for what her team was able to accomplish this year. She said to expect more excellence from the Mohawks (23-11, No. 11 in the IGHSAU polls) next year.
“One of our goals was to win the last conference championship in the Big East,” Sturm said, a goal the Mohawks accomplished with a 12-2 record. Sturm promptly earned the conference’s last Coach of the Year award. “The team grew a lot, and we’re still a pretty young team.
“The kids we have returning aren’t going to settle for anything less (than state) next year,” she added.
Class 1A, Region 4
DON BOSCO 3, MARQUETTE CATHOLIC 2
Marquette 001 100 0 — 2 5 2
Don Bosco 000 200 1 — 3 13 1
Danielle Bender (7 ip, 13 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 2 so) and Bella Berthel. Multiple hits — Marquette (Nicole Blum 2), Don Bosco (Karli Welter 2, Brittany Hickson 3, Tori Even 2, Olivia Schmit 2.). 2B — Don Bosco (Cate Paulsen). HR — Don Bosco (Hickson, Even). RBI — Marquette (Justine Kalmes), Don Bosco (Hickson, Even, Paulsen).