Tarah Wehde

CAMANCHE - It was just a tough night in Camanche on Friday. 

The No. 9 softball team bowed out of the Class 3A postseason prematurely after a 4-0 shutout loss to West Burlington at home in the regional semifinals. Altogether, it was a game where nothing seemed to go right for the Indians while everything seemed to go right for the Falcons. 

"The best comment I can make about this game is that sometimes the stars align for people," head coach Kevin Roling said.  "That first inning ... the way the ball was bouncing around. It was happening for them and wasn't happening for us."

The Indians had been looking forward all season with one of the most powerful offenses in the state and the throwing arms to back it up. Since the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released the postseason brackets, the conversation had been on a rematch with No. 1  Davenport Assumption, who had shutout the Indians 7-0 just a couple of weeks ago. 

They had to get past the Falcons to see that game, though. 

"We weren't necessarily looking to Assumption, but we were really looking forward to that state tournament feeling," senior Madi Parson said. "We were thinking about Assumption a little more than we should have. I think our whole mindset was state."

Instead, the Indians played the entire game from behind and never got themselves on the board. It started in the very first inning with a lead off double. A wild pitch followed that up, and a fielders choice in an attempt to hold the runner at third loaded up the bases. 

Then a grounder got between shortstop and second base to score the first two. Another single plated the third run and gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead. 

All of this was off of starting pitcher Tarah Wehde. Wehde has a season ERA of 1.37 going into Friday night. 

"I was nervous," Wehde admitted after the game.  "Big games like these I can get a little nervous and it got the best of me the first inning."

After the third run scored, Wehde pitched a full count to the next batter before notching her first K. After that, Hanna Nissen made a diving catch in center field and got the ball back to the infield for the double play. 

With the first inning and first strikeout under her belt, Wehde got more comfortable in the circle. She went on to strikeout five total batters and only walk one, holding the Falcons scoreless until the top of the seventh. Even that run came from a solo homer by West Burlington's Madelyn Stutsman. 

"After the first out I kind of settled down and throwing my best," Wehde said.  "After the first out I just started pitching."

The Indians had seven innings to get their offense rolling but never quite did it. Part of it was Falcon pitcher Lauren Summers, who threw fast and threw rise balls that had the Indians swinging at air. 

"Personally, I think it's that the ball's coming high ... starts high and stay high," Madi Parson said.  "On those rise ball pitchers, it;s a little different high. It's come in and going up even higher as you swing. It's not going to come here and stay at that top line."

From the get go, things weren't going their way. In the bottom of the first, Cam Carstensen doubled with two outs to put a runner on and Parson followed it up with a single, both eventually moving to scoring position. Neither one moved any farther. 

Camanche ended up leaving six runners stranded through all seven innings. 

"Softball is one of those games where you have to get them on, move them over and push them across and we couldn't move them over," Coach Roling said.  "You have to give their pitcher a lot of credit."

They were making contact, though. Numerous hits came off of Camanche bats that looked like they were going to fall, only to be stopped by a diving infielder or caught in the grass. The Indians only managed five hits and a walk while striking out eight times. Five of those eight strikeouts came in the sixth and seventh innings. 

"On a team like this, we know we can hit off them," Wehde said.  "When we don't it's hard to let go and people get frustrated with themselves and that carries over to the next at-bat."

The Indians finish the 2019 campaign 31-10. They graduate Madi Parson, Cam Carstensen, Abby Stock, Hanna Nissen and Chelsea Newman.