Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 23, 2017

Panthers seek revenge in first round of state softball tourney

Jul 17, 2017
Courtesy of: IGHSAU The 2017 Class 4A state softball bracket, which shows Mt. Pleasant as the No. 5 seed taking on fourth-seeded Oskaloosa in the first round.

By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News

 

It’s been two years since the Mt. Pleasant softball team punched its first state tournament ticket in school history with a regional final win over Davenport Assumption in 2015.

Since then, there have been many ups and downs for a Mt. Pleasant team that has risen to a top 10 team in Class 4A. The biggest down may have been in the 2016 regional final, where eventual champion Oskaloosa topped the Panthers, 6-0.

As luck would have it, the Panthers and Indians are set to duel in a high-profile game once again, this time in the first round of the state tournament. Oskaloosa earned the fourth seed with a 5-1 win over Burlington in their regional final and Mt. Pleasant was slotted as the fifth seed after a 7-3 win over Cedar Rapids Xavier.

Only five players who started the regional final in 2016 won’t be on the field Tuesday afternoon. Graduated seniors Morgan Fraise, Julie Lasswell and Kaley White made up the final three spots in the lineup for Mt. Pleasant last season. Oskaloosa has lost their leadoff hitter, Kylie Silliman, and their fifth hitter Alexis Vrough.

Still on the squad for Oskaloosa is ace pitcher Alexis Groet, who struck out 10 batters and gave up just five hits in the regional final win last season.

Groet may have a much harder time with a dangerous Mt. Pleasant lineup on Tuesday. The Panthers have scored 315 runs this season, 33 more than the 282 they scored last season.

The Panthers come into the Class 4A tournament with the second most runs scored, Oskaloosa is sixth out of the top eight teams with 270 runs. Second-seeded Fairfield has scored 339 runs this year to lead the field.

Bailey Johnson, who sports a .529 average comes into the tournament with 59 RBIs, which is second most in the 4A field. Agatha Beier, who plays for sixth-seeded Carlisle, is first with 60 RBIs. Sarah Moffett is seventh in the field with 43 RBIs.

Johnson is tied with two others for most home runs in the field. She, Ballard’s Maggie Larson and Charles City’s Sara Martin each have 12 long balls on the year.

Ballard’s pitching duo of Hannah Elliot and Abby Carlin have the two best ERAs in the field. Elliot comes in with a 0.91 ERA and Carlin comes in with a 1.12.

Groet is fourth in the field with a 1.65 ERA. Mt. Pleasant has two of the top 10 lowest ERAs. Cali Leichty sports a 1.96 mark and Johnson sits at 2.66.

The two defenses are nearly identicle defensively. Oskaloosa has the sixth-best fielding percentage in the field at .939, and Mt. Pleasant is seventh at .938.

Moffett has thrown out nine of 22 potential base-stealers this year. The Indians sport a couple of younger catchers, who are seven for 39 combined.

The winner of the Mt. Pleasant-Oskaloosa game will play in the semifinals on Thursday, July 20. The loser will play in the consolation round on Wednesday, July 19. Top-seeded Winterset, who defeated the Panthers in the first round of the 2015 tournament, will take on Sergeant Bluff-Luton in the other game on the top half of the bracket.

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