Paige Lowary didn’t have anything to prove on Friday night, but she showed why she’s the best pitcher in the state anyway.
Lowary ended her brilliant high school career with Dallas Center-Grimes by capturing a second consecutive Class 4A title, and they did so in grand fashion.
The Missouri recruit one-hit Solon – Class 4A’s top hitting team – as the Fillies recorded a 5-0 victory.
Dallas Center-Grimes (41-1), whose only loss was to Class 5A state champ Johnston, has played in four consecutive state tournaments, winning back-to-back titles with a runner-up showing in 2012 and a bronze effort in 2011.
Lowary (21-1), the 4A all-tournament captain for the second consecutive season, finished her career with a record of 124-12 and 1,415 strikeouts.
In the circle, Lowary struck out eight batters and allowed only one hit, a single from No. 9 batter Holly Hinkel.
“We had a lot of confidence coming in,” Lowary said. “My final goal was to win twice in a row, and it’s the best feeling in the world.”
The Fillies picked up their 34th shutout win of the season and second consecutive goose egg in the state tournament, not only behind Lowary’s arm, but from a strong hitting display.
DC-G scored one in the first ininng and tacked two more in the fifth on a solo home run from Lexi Rosa and then Brooke Kramer scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 advantage, which would all but seal the deal. Kramer ended the contest with two hits.
Tabitha Taylor added another solo homer in the sixth inning and then Jackie Peyton took one deep in the seventh, tying a Class 4A record for home runs in a tourney contest. They ended the day with nine hits off of all-tournament selection Emily Ira (23-2).
Ira had nine strikeouts in the game and tied the tournament record with nine RBI in the Lady Spartans’ three state affairs.
“It’s nice to win two in a row, but trying to go back-to-back is definetly challenging,” said Dallas Center-Grimes head coach Steve Schlafke. “We loved the opportunity to go for two and to finish 41-1 is special in itself.
“Good teams win it once – great teams win it twice.”
With his all-state left-hander going on to pitch at Missouri in the SEC, Schlafke will turn to a different Lowary next season. Paige’s freshman sister, Rachel, had a 14-0 campaign and an 0.00 ERA in 84 innings of work in 2014, striking out 107.
“You can’t just replace someone like Paige, though,” Schlafke said. “We’re just going to enjoy this one.”