Wave of momentum
The ranked teams keep lining up, and Greene County just keeps knocking them down.
Center Point-Urbana, welcome to the club. Don’t feel bad; you’re not the first, and you may not be the last.
Unranked all season, Greene County (28-7) derailed three rated opponents – No. 11 East Sac County, No. 10 Sergeant Bluff-Luton and No. 4 Sioux Center – by a combined score of 36-5 in regional play just to reach the state tournament, and on Monday, the Rams added the No. 6 Stormin’ Pointers to their list by a count of 2-0 in the Class 3A quarterfinal round on Mittera Field at Rogers Park.
What’s Greene County’s postseason secret? No one knows – not even head coach Tom Kennedy.
“Boy, I don’t know what it is. I wish I knew because I’d start next year with it,” Kennedy said after his team sailed into a semifinal date with yet another ranked team – No. 3 and 2013 state runner-up Clarke – on Thursday. “Nobody knows about Greene County softball and we’re just trying to build some respect. We use that as motivation and the girls have really picked up on it and I’m just so proud of them.”
Junior pitcher Marissa Promes gets the lion’s share of the credit for the latest upset, if it can even be called that. The intense junior worked out of several jams – CPU put a runner on third base in the first inning, another on third with no outs in the fourth and yet another moved to third in the seventh – by staying composed and hitting her spots with her riseball.
Promes celebrated with her teammates in the circle following her three-hit masterpiece, which included six strikeouts without yielding a walk.
“Marissa pitched so well and she’s been doing that for us all year,” Kennedy said. “She got us out of a couple of jams and took care of business.”
Promes did the majority of the work in the field, so it was only fitting she got to have the fun at the plate.
Still locked in a scoreless stalemate in the fifth, Promes led-off the bottom of the inning by tattooing the first pitch from CPU hurler Samantha Croghan over the fence in center field for a solo home run – her third of the season.
It turned out to be all the scoring the Rams would need.
“I just let loose I guess,” Promes said after her team collected its sixth straight victory. “I just knew we had to get going and get a run it felt great.
“I knew our team could do this and it just feels really good to actually do it.”
The Rams added an insurance run in the sixth when Kayla Mobley lined a two-out shot back up the middle to plate Carleigh Paup, who opened the frame with a double to left.
Croghan nearly equaled the effort of Promes, but made the few key mistakes. Croghan was touched for just four hits; she fanned one.
CPU (28-10) attempted to mount a comeback in the seventh. Eighth-grader Maddie Carr blasted Promes’ first offering of the frame off the fence in left-center for a double. She eventually reached third and that’s where she stayed.
Elizabeth Hearn also doubled for the Stormin’ Pointers and Croghan added a single. Emma Saddoris accounted for the Rams other hit – a lead-off single in the opening inning.