Triton softball squad bows out

With its season hanging in the balance, the third-seeded Iowa Central softball team was unable to stave off elimination in the consolation bracket of the Region XI Div. II tournament here Saturday at Rogers Sports Complex.

After staying alive with a 6-0 shutout of No. 5 seed Ellsworth, the Tritons (42-15 overall) were ousted by fourth-seeded Marshalltown in a 10-5 decision.

“It just wasn’t our weekend,” ICCC head coach Josh Sandin said. “Between the umpiring and hard hit balls right at (the fielders), we couldn’t seem to catch any breaks.

“The first game (Saturday) actually went exactly how we wanted the rest of the tournament to go. I felt like we were ready for Marshalltown, but we fell behind early and never really got our bats going.”

Against the Panthers, Iowa Central plated three runs in the first, one in the third and two more insurance scores in the fifth. Morningside College recruit Haley Rustvold (Fort Dodge) went a perfect 3-for-3 offensively with two RBI and two runs scored.

Rustvold, a No. 5 batter and right fielder, drove in the first two Triton scores with a two-out bloop double to left that fell just out of reach of the shortstop’s glove.

“Haley had an amazing tournament,” said Sandin. “She has just been ‘Miss Consistency’ for us the whole season.”

Emilee Dorpinghaus and William Jewell signee Katie Newbury each delivered a pair of hits and a run for Iowa Central. Allie Ingalls, Casey-May Huff and Sarah McCoy all contributed a RBI, while Iowa State recruit Sammie Hildreth and Lexie Miller (Eagle Grove) both crossed the dish once.

Hildreth also narrowly missed her 16th longball of the year when she was robbed at the fence in deep center by Bergundy Oelmann.

Ingalls (22-9) posted the win in the circle, yielding only one hit and no runs – with two walks and five strikeouts – over four innings. Carmen Rivera notched the last nine outs in relief for her third save of the year.

Lindsay Barnhart managed a triple for Ellsworth (10-22), while Cayla Bantz, Bailey Luebbers and Oelmann each had singles. During the regular season, the Panthers dropped three of their four meetings against Iowa Central.

Rustvold provided another bright spot in the loss for the Tritons, finishing 3-for-4 with a RBI. University of West Florida signee Chelsy Krantz (Fort Dodge) added two runs scored.

Hildreth and Nicole Dobernecker both knocked in a run, and Hildreth, Dobernecker and Taylor Barnett all came home once.

Down 10-2 in the seventh, Iowa Central took advantage of consecutive two-out fielding errors by the Tigers to slice the deficit in half. Marshalltown hurler Sarah Wilson ultimately slammed the door on any potential late Triton rally with her sixth strikeout of the game.

Leadoff hitter Brooke Dunkin was 4-for-5 with four runs scored for the Tigers (33-17), who stranded 12 baserunners in the contest. Lexie Biehl of Marshalltown also belted a three-run round-tripper and scored twice.

Defensively, Iowa Central turned three double plays and committed three errors on the day.

Krantz, Newbury, Rustvold, Hildreth, Dobernecker, Culver-Stockton recruit Morgan Fisher, Kaitlynn Morrison and Paige Prokop all wrapped up their Triton careers on the diamond. Iowa Central improved its win total this spring by 29 games over the 2013 campaign.

“What our sophomores have done for the program will never be forgotten,” said Sandin. “They definitely helped put Iowa Central softball back on the map. It would’ve been easy for them to leave or transfer, but they deserve a lot of credit for sticking it out.

“We by far exceeded other people’s expectations this year. We lost back-to-back games only twice and were swept just once.”

Up next for Marshalltown in the tournament consolation final this afternoon at 1 p.m. on Field 1 is top-seeded and fourth-ranked Kirkwood (51-7). The Eagles were upset by second-seeded and 16th-rated Des Moines Area here Saturday, 5-1.