Cascade’s softball team went 4-4 in an action-packed week to keep its record even at 14-14 (7-9 RVC). The Cougars dropped their game at Iowa City Regina before falling in a doubleheader at Maquoketa They fell the following day at West Branch before winning four straight over Monticello, Mid-Prairie and Springville.
The week opened with the Cougars falling in an 11-0 shutout to ranked conference rival 2A, No. 7 Iowa City Regina, June 24. The home game was over in five when the Regals posted a total of 10 runs in the fourth and fifth innings to seal the mercy-rule win.
Regina (11-13) saw its star pitcher, Katie Bracken, weave through the Cougar lineup in a complete game, one-hit, 11-strikeout gem. The one hit was given up to Cascade leadoff hitter Devin Simon. The eighth-grade infielder proceeded to work in a stolen base before Bracken retired her remaining teammates.
Playing in the circle for Cascade was Samantha Recker, who suffered her first loss of the season, falling to 3-1 as a starter in a seven-hit, five-earned run effort. Lidia Boffeli came in to try and plug the leak for the remaining 1 ⅓ innings, but walked three batters and allowed six runs.
“This conference is really tough. Durant goes and beats Hempstead the other day, and West Liberty beat Camanche, 6-0. And then you have Iowa City (Regina). They have a losing record, but their top pitcher is terrific,” coach Ron Lehman said.
The next day Maquoketa (14-20) came out with some big hits to win game one, 12-6. They would go on to steal game two, 4-3.
“We didn’t start very well, and errors really hurt us in that game. We had the lead in the first game and gave it up,” Lehman said.
The Cascade highlight of game one came when Morgan Kremer hit her sixth home run of the season. She finished that game 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Whitney Clemens drove in two more in a 2-for-4 day. Senior infielder Madison Gehl nabbed one RBI, while the Cougar one-two hitters, Simon and Addy Weber, both went 1-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored.
Hailey Hannan had trouble from the circle, getting worked for four runs in the opening two innings. She was pulled after 3 ⅓, with two strikeouts and eight earned runs allowed. Recker, who had a similar time as a starter the day before, came out and managed a solid 1.91 ERA in a 3 ⅔ inning relief effort. In that time, she gave up a single run on seven hits.
Kremer (2-for-4), Weber (1-for-3, RBI) and Simon (1-for-2, run, two SB) all contributed to the hitting efforts in game two, while sophomore Julia Ludwig drove in her first varsity run while getting time in right field in a 1-for-3 game.
The Cougars dropped their Wednesday game against West Branch, 6-2. The game had been tied at two runs each until the top of the sixth, when the visitors scored the go-ahead run. West Branch added three more in the seventh to seal the deal.
Recker took the loss in the circle, but worked a strong complete game, seven-strikeout effort. The rookie-turned-varsity-mainstay allowed 12 hits, six earned runs and walked two. Gehl went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Kremer added the second RBI of the night.
The turnaround began June 27, in a doubleheader with Monticello. The Cougars won game one, 7-6, and game two, 2-0.
Kremer and Clemens led the team with a pair of RBIs each in game one. Boffeli threw 101 pitches and gave up six hits and four earned runs to lead the team from the circle. She struck out one.
The Cougars went from 10 hits in game one to five in game two, but those were more than enough to help Cascade sweep. Recker found her command early and kept it going for a seven-hit shutout over the Panthers. She struck out two and gave up a single walk. Behind her efforts, the home team took the lead in the second and added another run in the sixth en route to the win.
“The first part of the year she hadn’t put everything together yet, but (Recker) is slowly becoming our best pitcher,” Lehman said. “She’s been hitting her pitches a lot more consistently. You call high and outside, she hits it right there. She also has a great changeup.”
Junior Weber and sophomore Taylor Menster contributed the RBIs, with the former stealing a base. Kremer added two hits, a double and a run.
The team took down Mid-Prairie, 4-1, at home, June 28. They scored all of their runs in the first three innings, with Mid-Prairie getting its lone score in the top of the fourth. The big moment in that one came from Weber, who opened the game with a solo home run — her first longball of the season. Clemens and Ludwig added an RBI apiece.
“When we play defense, we can play a whole lot of teams. We had two errors, but we limited it to under four. If we do that consistently, we can win some games,” Lehman said after the game.
The final outing of the long week came Saturday. Cascade was active from the plate in a road matchup at Springville, winning, 7-2.
“The bunting game today was fantastic. Everything we did was, really,” Lehman said after the game. “The thing about today was that we got kids on base and somebody came through and knocked them in. We have had trouble with that, but it was great to see us execute here. Whitney put the ball out to the right field and we scored that first run. Kremer knocked some in. Boffeli hit chalk on third base line and hit some in.”
Kremer (1-for-2, double, two RBIs), Boffeli (1-for-2, two RBIs), Simon (2-for-4, double, two runs) and Clemens (RBI) led the Cougar hitting, while Recker allowed just four hits and two earned runs while striking out two.