On the doorstep
The fourth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond softball team moved one step closer to their first goal at Rogers Park on Friday night, taking care of Ogden, 10-0 in five innings.
Next up for the Gaels will be a meeting with No. 2 Earlham (27-4) Monday night in Ogden in a 2A, Region 7 final, with the winner advancing to the state tournament.
Jaci Stumpf hit a two-run homer a batter after Cassie Sells just missed connecting on a grand slam as part of a seven-run third that provided St. Edmond (30-5 overall) with all the offense they would need in its second straight mercy-rule triumph.
Both Stumpf and Sells were 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI in the game, as both finished with doubles. Maggie Harvey added two hits, a run and an RBI, while Lily Peterson was 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI.
“I know I’ve said it a few times, but the success we are having right now at the plate is because of all the time, hard work and dedication these girls put into working out over the year,” SEHS head coach Paul Hunt said. “They were dedicated to lifting weights and getting better, and now, it’s paying off.
“We’re not just getting bloop singles, we’re crushing hard-hit doubles throughout our lineup.”
Of the 11 hits collected by the Gaels, six went for extra bases, including the homer for Stumpf. Ogden’s starter, Jordan Poock, was chased in the third inning after surrendering the 10 runs – though just three were earned.
Seven different St. Edmond batters had at least one hit, while all 10 that came to the plate reached base. Eight players crossed home in all, as Amanda Lansman (29-5) received all the support she would need.
Lansman, a junior who has committed to Iowa Central, allowed just two singles, striking out seven and walking three against Ogden (14-18). She is now 40-11 with 327 strikeouts against just 40 walks in her career.
“Amanda overcame a few missed spots there early on, but I thought she got herself locked in after that,” Hunt said. “After we scored seven in the third, she took the foot off the gas a little, but it was great to see her get back into the zone and close out the game in the fifth (with a runner on third).”
The Gaels will now face Earlham (27-4), who bested No. 9 IKM-Manning by a final of 8-0, for a return spot at state. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
St. Edmond placed sixth a season ago, while the Cardinals lost to eventual 1A state runner-up New London in a regional final. Last year, the Gaels defeated Des Moines Christian in Ogden to advance to the elite eight at Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.