Fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Des Moines Christian will leave the 2012 state softball tournament with its best finish ever.
The Lions guaranteed themselves that after defeating No. 2 Durant, 4-0, in the semifinals at Rogers Park on Thursday. Des Moines Christian (29-6 overall) will face No. 13 Treynor (27-5) for the state title back on Diamond 1 this afternoon at 12:15 p.m.
All year long the Lions have relied on the home run-ball - and that continued Thursday. Anne Albaugh and Annette Bosman each hit homers, while Bosman finished 3-for-3 with two RBI.
The squad has hit 42 homers on the year - a school-record they improve with each long ball.
Bosman finished a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
"(Hitting homers) has been typical for us all year," smiled DMC head coach Howard Harris. "When we looked at Durant, it was kind of like looking in a mirror.
Des Moines Christian 4,
Durant 000 000 0 0 1 2
DM Christian 112 000 x 4 5 0
Paige Compton (L, 24-4, 6 IP, 5 H, 4 Er, 2 BB, 10 K) and Kristin Porstmann; Leah Harris (W, 18-2, 7 IP, 1H, 0 BB, 4 K) and Olivia Rasmussen. HR DMC: Anne Albaugh, Annette Bosman. 2B DMC: Bosman. RBI DMC: Bosman (2), Albaugh, Rasmussen.
"We were just the lucky ones (Thursday), as our hits went over the fence, and (Durant's) seemed to go right at our defense."
That was more than enough offense for Leah Harris, who allowed just one hit and struck out four batters. The senior has scattered just five hits in two games without a run to be scored.
Harris has 11 strikeouts and just one walk in 12 innings.
Prior to this season, Des Moines Christian's best finish was fifth, which they accomplished in both 2007 and '08. Last year, the Lions settled for seventh.
Olivia Rasmussen singled in the first run in the opening inning, while Albaugh launched her seventh homer of the year in the second. Bosman's ninth blast of the year came in the third.
"We call (Albaugh) our 'big kid,' and she got a hold of that homer," Harris said. "I am just so proud of all of these girls. They've worked so hard and it is going to be fun coaching them in the state finals."
Durant (32-6) will face No. 8 Sumner-Fredericksburg (33-11) on Diamond 2 at 11:30 a.m. for third. The Wildcats' only other state appearance came in 2007, when they finished fifth. Sidney Lilienthal had the lone hit for Durant, which saw its eight-game win streak snapped.
With the title game on the horizon, how does Harris plan to relax?
"With a Diet Coke," Harris laughed. "My wife won't be happy to hear that, though.
"No, in all honesty, we will just try to keep the same routine we have had all year. This season has been a long journey that we wanted to have end (in the state finals). Now we have reached that point."