FORT DODGE – For your News-Telegraph’s sports editor, this is a battle of teams he’s got some connection to.
It’s a battle between the school he’s currently covering and the one that for seven years helped the NEWSpapers of Iowa County sports editor cover.
It’s Atlantic vs. Williamsburg, and the prize on the line is the third-place trophy in today’s Iowa Class 3A state consolation championship game.
Both teams got there after semifinal defeats. For Atlantic, it was a 12-0 defeat at the hands of Davenport Assumption, while Williamsburg, last year’s state runner-up, was upended by Mount Vernon 6-2.
For Atlantic, the sting of their one-sided loss to the Knights surely hurt, but that’ll have to be forgotten about quickly as they prepare for their 1 p.m. game that will conclude their three-game run at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.
Regardless of the outcome vs. the Raiders, the finish will be the highest in school history for the Trojans. Coach Terry Hinzmann’s 2016 team placed sixth and ended with a loss in a one-and-done consolation game in 2018 (equivalent to seventh place).
Some pundits believe Assumption might be the best team in any class at the state tournament. Wednesday afternoon, there might have been no argument.
While better in every facet of the game than the Trojans, at least this time around, Assumption was most impressive on offense, using small ball and speed to open the offense. That was before they connected on base hits to open up the game in the second inning and ended any faint hopes of a Trojan comeback with a third-inning three-run home run.
The Trojans were limited to just two hits and a walk as Assumption ace Bella Nigey recorded eight strikeouts.
Williamsburg, meantime, lost to fellow WaMaC rival Mount Vernon 6-2 in their semifinal game. The Raiders – they’re the second team this week the Trojans have faced that have that as the school’s mascot – had an early 1-0 lead before the Mustangs struck for four unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings, then after giving up a run added two more in the sixth to ice the win.
The Raiders (32-11) got two hits by senior Charlotte Wetjen in the contest, while Carly Campbell and Elle Ridgeway each had RBIs for the Raiders. Peyton Driscoll took the loss, giving up eight hits and six walks while striking out six.
Champions of the WaMac’s West Division, the Raiders’ top bats come from freshman Shannon Finn (.443, 62 hits and 13 RBI) and sophomore Ellie Ridgeway (.437, 55 hits, 56 RBI). Ridgeway has connected on 13 home runs. Finn leads the team with stolen bases at 37, while Makenna Hughes has 36.
On the season, Driscoll is 19-4, with a 2.02 ERA in 152.2 innings, giving up 76 walks while striking out 205.
For Atlantic (34-6), the Hawkeye Ten Conference champions, this game marks the final time as high school players for seven super seniors: Madison Botos, Alyssa Derby, Olivia Engler, Chloe Gardner, Kennedy Goergen, Lauren Nicholas and Caroline Pellett. All but Gardner were part of the 2018 team – they were freshmen then – that made it to Fort Dodge.