Play resumes, Fairfield ends Mt. Pleasant diamond season
By ALLYUS FRITZ
Golden Triangle News Service
FAIRFIELD — A 1-1 change up was all Karley Williams needed to make an impact in Fairfield’s regional semifinal playoff game against Mt. Pleasant at Fairfield Middle School.
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning, the Trojans took advantage of two walks and an error to load the bases. Williams came to the plate and rocked the Jena Stukerjurgen pitch over the fence for a grand slam. A batter later, Sara Trent hit a solo home run to put Fairfield up 5-0. That’s all the Trojans would need, as they would go on to win 9-1 and will move on to play Oskaloosa in the regional final Tuesday.
Experienced players came through consistently for the Trojans. Senior leadoff hitter Sydney Burnett went 2-4 with two doubles. Fairfield’s other senior, first baseman Marisa Repp, went 2-3 with a double, a walk and drove in two runs.
“It’s exciting for me because it’s my dream to go to state,” Repp said. “I’ve been playing on this team for five years and we’ve only gotten close once, and that was last season. Getting those hits in this game feels so nice.”
The game was split in half after rain and lightning forced the game to be suspended on Saturday. The game was resumed Monday in the top of the fourth, with the Panthers down 5-0. Mt. Pleasant had to make the trip again, knowing that it had just four innings to put together a comeback. Fairfield pitcher Alli Deao didn’t get into trouble until the seventh, when Stukerjurgen drove in Julie Laswell with an RBI single.
“Fairfield is a tough enough team to play when it’s 0-0,” Mt. Pleasant coach Troy Mears said. “We gave them a little fight there at the end. I kind of wish we would have shown that two or three innings earlier.”
The Trojans (30-6) added on to their lead with two runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, RBI hits from Trent and McClure drove in runs. Repp had a two-RBI single in the sixth.
Deao let her defense work behind her Monday. She struck out five batters total, but exceptional defense from Burnett in centerfield, Waugh at shortstop and Repp at first base helped her get through the game only allowing three hits and one earned run.
Mt. Pleasant was assisted in the game by a Jackie Fraise single and a sparkling diving play at second base by Alli Dorn to rob Kaylee Watson of a hit.
The Panthers (16-24) are now forced to look to next season. They will only lose two seniors, and Mears thinks they can go even farther in their next campaign.
“We’re losing two good seniors, but the core of our team will be coming back,” Mears said. “There won’t be team that will want to play us a whole lot next year.”
As for No. 8 Fairfield, they will play against No. 13 Oskaloosa (28-9) in the playoffs for the second season in a row.
“It’s super exciting,” Williams said. “If we keep our head in it, we can win.”
Oskaloosa was 19-1 at one point this season and is ranked in Class 4A. The Indians defeated Pella (6-2?) Monday.
“[Oskaloosa has] two pitchers that throw harder than we’ve seen in awhile,” Fairfield coach Bob Bradfield said. “I would like to think we have a better hitting team, but we’ll see what we can do.”
Fairfield’s game at Oskaloosa will start at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The winner will advance to the state tournament in Fort Dodge.