Pushed to the brink of elimination, the Iowa Central softball team wasn't about to be denied here Friday.
Showing no ill-effects from an upset loss to North Iowa Area less than 24 hours earlier, the top-seeded Tritons (52-10 overall) coasted to an 11-2 six-inning triumph over No. 5 seed Marshalltown (26-22) in the consolation round of the Region XI Tournament at Rogers Sports Complex.
Seventh-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Iowa Central banged out 10 hits on the afternoon, including four long balls. The Tritons also plated at least two runs in five of the six frames.
"Our whole demeanor from our team breakfast all the way through was completely different than (Thursday), and I liked our approach," ICCC head coach Josh Sandin said. "Hopefully, we still have five more games to go (to potentially win the Region XI Tournament title), but we've played the toughest schedule in the nation this season for a reason. All those games helped prepare us for this moment."
Next up for the Tritons is a clash with second-seeded Kirkwood (43-12) today at 1 p.m. on Diamond 1. The ninth-ranked Eagles, who split with Iowa Central during the regular season, were knocked off in a 5-3 decision by No. 3 seed Des Moines Area on Friday.
Third baseman and No. 3 hitter Megan Risetter (Fort Dodge) propelled the explosive Triton offensive barrage with a perfect 4-for-4 effort, three RBI and two runs. Risetter, a William Jewell recruit, narrowly missed hitting for the rare cycle by just a triple. In her final at-bat in the sixth, Risetter reached on a leadoff infield single to shortstop before leaving the field after re-aggravating an apparent lower back injury. Risetter has now crushed 12 home runs on the year and a program-best 31 in her standout career.
IOWA CENTRAL 11, MARSHALLTOWN 2 (6 Inn.)
Marshalltown 100 100-2 2 3
Iowa Central 203 222-11 10 1
Stacy Roggentein (L, 12-14; 5 IP, 8 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), Felisha Durflinger (0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K) and Hally Lenzine; Corinne Frei (W, 23-3; 6 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K) and Mackenzie VanDenBerg.
2B-ICCC: Megan Risetter, Charissa Wright. HR-M: Lenzine; ICCC: Risetter, Rebekah Rolling, Wright, Brittany Madsen. SB-ICCC: Rolling, Mikaela Pruismann. MH-ICCC: Risetter (4), Madsen (2), Wright (2). LOB-M 2, ICCC 5.
"Our big players Risetter, (Brittany) Madsen and (Corinne) Frei really stepped up for us," said Sandin, whose squad went 2-2 against the Tigers in the regular season. "We need them to come back (today) at full strength and do the same type of things again, but we built a lot of momentum with this win. We knew Marshalltown was a scary team, especially with the wind blowing out."
Madsen and Charissa Wright delivered two hits apiece for Iowa Central. Madsen added three RBI, Wright drove in two and McKristie Jeske (Eagle Grove) scored twice. Rebekah Rolling (North Sentral Kossuth), Wright and Madsen all went deep. Rolling and Wright launched back-to-back solo bombs in the fifth, while Madsen drilled a walk-off two-run dinger - her 18th home run of the season and only one short of Risetter's single-season mark of 19 set last spring.
Meanwhile, ace right-hander Frei (23-3) mowed down the Marshalltown lineup from beginning to end. Frei went the distance, surrendering just two hits and one earned run. The William Jewell signee walked none and fanned 11. Frei actually faced just one batter over the minimum in the final four innings and retired the last nine Tigers she faced. During one stretch, Frei struck out five straight Marshalltown hitters between the fourth and sixth innings.
"Corinne wasn't happy at all with her performance (against NIACC)," Sandin said. "Marshalltown was the only Div. II team that beat her this season (a 2-1 setback back on April 21), but I thought she probably had one of her better outings of the year (on Friday)."
Erica White (single) and Hally Lenzine (home run) collected the lone hits for the visitors. Lenzine's round-tripper was her 29th of the season and 34th of her career. Marshalltown's other tally came in the first inning on a fielding miscue by the Triton center fielder.
Contact Josh Meyer at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at email@example.com