Hawks 1 stinkin’ hit away: No. 4 AGWSR dodges many bullets, sneaks by SH softball

ROLAND – Carly Swenson wasn’t the least bit intimidated by an all-state pitcher when she stepped to the plate with runners at second and third in the fifth inning here Saturday afternoon.

Kayla Carlson wasn’t shaking in her cleats either as she stood in the batter’s box with a runner on third in the sixth inning.

Both put a dent on the softball. Both were close – inches, really – to giving South Hamilton the hit it needed to potentially pull off an upset over a ranked team as the blazing sun baked the field and players.

But we all know what close is good for – not a dang thing.

Fourth-ranked (Class 1A) AGWSR (16-5) and its first-team all-state pitcher Ashley Sicard withstood the super-charged South Hamilton offense by making the big plays at the crucial moments in a 3-1 victory over the Hawks (8-11) during the final round of the Kiwanis Softball Invitational.

“I’m really pleased with how we hit the ball,” South Hamilton head coach Laura Read said after her club out hit the Cougars 7-5. “We didn’t chase pitches and we didn’t help (Sicard) out very much. We were aggressive in the strike zone and that was the plan.”

Swenson’s two-out line-drive shot off Sicard in the fifth tracked right into the glove of Cougars’ center fielder Olivia Ingledue, who was playing deep and didn’t have to move a step to make the catch and end the threat.

Carlson turned on a Sicard pitch with two outs in the sixth and it got on Cougars’ third baseman Maddie Deters so fast that she didn’t even have time to react. Unfortunately for the Hawks she didn’t have to, as the screamer hit and stuck right in the palm of the glove to end South Hamilton’s threat.

“We seem to have that problem a lot right now,” Read said of the near-misses. “We’re coming up with hits, but they’re going right at people. But we’re hitting the ball and hitting it hard, so that’s good.”

AGWSR led 2-1 until the bottom of the sixth when it added an unearned run. Ingledue led off the frame with a bunt single and she eventually came around to score to give her team an insurance run.

No. 9 hitter Kenzie Busch opened the seventh with a liner past the drawn-in Cougar outfield for a double and she was on third when Sicard again worked her way out of a jam to end the game.

Busch was a perfect 3-for-3 off AGWSR’s hard-throwing right-hander and she scored the Hawks only run in the third inning. She opened the inning by going to left with a base hit and eventually scored on Swenson’s RBI ground ball.

“Kenzie is seeing the ball really well, especially when she keeps her head on it,” Read said. “She can get us going from down there (in the order), which is nice.”

Sicard – a member of the 2A state all-tournament team a season ago after leading the Cougars to a third-place finish – struck out five and walked just one. She helped herself out with a first-inning solo home run – her 10th of the season – that was on the other side of the fence in the blink of an eye. She sent a Leandra Diersen offering on a rope to center field; it crashed into the top of the fence and bounced over to put AGWSR ahead 1-0.

Jami Johnson laced a two-out double to right-center in the fourth and she eventually scored on a passed ball to put the Cougars ahead to stay.

Diersen was solid in the circle for the Hawks. The freshman struck out three, including Sicard in the fourth, and allowed just one earned run.

“She pitched a really good game,” Read said. “She kept them off balance with her curve.”

Ady Wintermote went 2-for-4 at the dish out of the No. 2 slot in the Hawks’ lineup. Diersen found the gap for a double and Alyssa Hegland added a base knock

South Hamilton stranded six runners on the bases, five of them in scoring position.

Up next for the Hawks is a road trip to Monroe tonight to take on Heart of Iowa Conference rival PCM at 7:30 p.m.

Mistakes cost Hawks against 3A No. 13 Mount Vernon

ROLAND – South Hamilton committed five errors and they helped 13th-ranked (Class 3A) Mount Vernon roll to a 9-2 victory over the Hawks Saturday at the Kiwanis Softball Invitational.

The Mustangs put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth inning. They finished with 10 hits.

South Hamilton collected four hits – singles by Tiffany Jacobson, Leandra Diersen, Kayla Carlson and Kali Lucas. Carlson and Lucas drove in runs.

Ady Wintermote suffered the loss in the pitcher’s circle for the Hawks.