Numbers never lie.
Coming into the state softball tournament, fourth-ranked (Class 1A) Newell-Fonda boasted some impressive statistics.
Monday afternoon at Rogers Park, the Mustangs backed up those numbers, scoring a 14-1, four-inning victory in the quarterfinals over No. 8 Remsen St. Mary's.
Messenger photo by Britt Kudla
Renee Maneman pitches for Newell-Fonda in a Class 1A quarterfinal contest at Rogers Park on Monday. For more photos, please visit CU at www.messengernews.net
Newel-Fonda (36-6 overall) advances to the semifinals on Thursday, taking on No. 10 New London on Diamond 2 at 11:30 a.m. New London (31-9) upset second-ranked and defending state champion Martensdale-St. Mary's in the quarters, 3-2.
Over the course of 41 regular season games, the Mustangs racked up over 200 steals, 330-plus hits and a team batting average of .325. In their state opener, N-F did exactly what they have done over the summer: hit, run and score in bunches.
"Remsen St. Mary's is a very good team, but we were able to apply pressure and they kicked the ball around a couple of times," N-F head coach Dick Jungers said. "We were able to take advantage of those mistakes."
Newell-Fonda 14, Remsen St. Mary's 1 (4 inn.)
Newell-Fonda 263 3 - 14 11 0
St. Mary's 000 1 - 1 4 8
Renee Maneman (W, 24-3, 4 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)) and Taylor Lago; Miranda Staab (L, 25-6, 3 IP, 8 H, 11 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) Katie Ahlers (4, 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and Paige Harpenau. HR - NF: Brianna Wells. 3B - NF: Wells. 2B - NF: Lago, Andrea Christensen. RBI - NF: Lago, Wells, Jade Hess, Missy Morenz (2); RSM: Lyndsie Schorg. Taiyler Mandernach, Jordan Wilken. SB - NF: Maneman (3), Wilken. MH - NF: Wells (2), Christensen (2), Maneman (2); RSM: Alexis Bunkers. LOB - NF: 5, RSM: 5.
After falling in the quarters last year and placing seventh, Jungers was excited to get a couple of days off before competing in the final four.
"It feels good to get a win in that first game," he said. "These girls have a lot of experience and I think that really helped to keep the nerves in check.
"You could tell (Remsen St. Mary's) played a little tight, and we were able to play loose and relaxed."
Brianna Wells connected on an inside-the-park home run to right field and later added a triple, as the Hawks (28-7) had left the outfield grass open. That run highlighted a six-run second that provided Renee Maneman with more than enough support.
Maneman (24-3) had three strikeouts and four hits allowed, helping her own cause with two hits, four runs scored and three steals.
"We thought we would play pretty well, but it's hard to expect a game like that," the junior said. "We were able to get in a good first inning and that helped us play relaxed."
Missy Morenz drove in two, Andrea Christensen had two hits and two runs scored.
Earlier this year, Newell-Fonda placed second on the hardwood in basketball. Several of those players are now lacing up the cleats on the softball diamond in hopes of bringing home another state title.
"We have a lot of experienced players who know what it takes to compete at state," Maneman said. "Our (regional final) win over Exira-EHK really gave us a lot of confidence, and that carried over (into Monday)."
Newell-Fonda has won eight consecutive since a loss to No. 1 (2A) North Union. Of the six losses suffered this year by the Mustangs, four of them have come at the hands of top-ranked squads (North Union twice, 1A Akron-Westfield, 4A LeMars).
"We didn't expect to win like that," Taiyler Schrank said. "It helps a lot, though, going forward because now we have confidence that we can win games (at state)."
Remsen St. Mary's will now head to the consolation bracket on Wednesday. They had a nine-game win streak snapped with the loss.
Alexis Bunkers had two hits in the setback.