Gaels an active host at state softball
The sixth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond softball team will not be playing on their own field Monday.
Instead, the Gaels will walk a few extra feet over to Diamond 1 and take on Ridge View in a 2A state quarterfinal at Rogers Park.
First pitch is set for 5 p.m.
The winner moves on to face either No. 3 Durant or Lawton-Bronson in the semifinals on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
St. Edmond (26-8 overall) is making its fourth appearance in the elite eight, and first since placing third in 2010.
The Raptors (30-11), meanwhile, are at state for the first time.
“We are trying to approach this as just another game,” SEHS head coach Paul Hunt said. “The girls have been very relaxed (since the regional final win over Des Moines Christian). We’ve tried our best to keep things the same as we’ve done all season so far.”
Senior Allie Oberg leads the Gaels in hitting at a .513 clip. She has 15 doubles and 28 RBI, while eighth-grader catcher Maggie Harvey is hitting .495 with 20 RBI and a team-best four homers.
Jessica Kuebler, Jaci Stumpf and Katie Donnelly are all batting over .300. for St. Edmond, which was the North Central Conference runner-up.
“Our league prepared us for this journey to state,” said Hunt, who sports a 50-19 career record. “The NCC is loaded with tough teams and we played a pretty strong non-conference schedule as well.”
Donnelly, a senior who is headed to Coe College in the fall, is the ace. She is 17-5 on the year with 147 strikeouts and just 20 walks, sporting a 1.72 earned run average.
St. Edmond is currently on a seven-game win streak that includes five shutouts.
Ridge View enters off the biggest victory of its season, stunning top-ranked North Union, 2-1, in a regional final. They have won six in a row and 11 of the last 12 overall.
“They have plenty of momentum on their side, like we do, entering this game,” Hunt said. “It’s down to the final eight teams, and we all deserve to be (at state).”
Dana Hustedt, an Iowa Western recruit, leads the team offensively with 12 homers, 49 RBI and is hitting .465. She also has eight steals and is 5-2 pitching.
Gretchen Kistenmacher, a senior like Hustedt, sports a 25-9 record inside the circle with 178 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.78.
The Raptors, who are coached by Scott Phelps, placed fifth in the Western Valley Conference.
“Hustedt is a tremendous talent and she can definitely hit the ball,” Hunt said. “(Kistenmacher) kept Alta-Aurelia and North Union to just one total run, and those are two extremely tough offenses.”