Tiger Softball traveled to Iowa Falls on Tuesday, April 23 for a pair of games against Iowa Valley foe, Ellsworth Community College. The two teams had met three times prior in the season with the Panthers of Ellsworth leading the series 2-1.
A back and forth battle ensued in game one. After the Tigers stranded a runner in scoring position in the top of the first inning, the Panthers got the scoring started.
Sydney Larsen started the ECC half of the first inning by drawing a four pitch walk from Tigers' pitcher, Ashley Tennant. Larsen then stole second to move into scoring position. After a pair of outs, Larsen was driven home by a double off the bat of Lexi Riggal. After another walk, Kenzi Wright sent a single through the middle of the infield to score Riggal. Tennant then got Katie Smith to ground into a fielder's choice to end the first inning with the Tigers trailing 2-0.
The lead didn't last long though as Kylie Swan led the top of the second off with a single. DJ Schmidt then bunted Swan into scoring position for Nell Skeath. Skeath did her job and then some as she tripled to right-center field to score Swan and put herself in position to score. She scored on the next pitch as AnnaMarie Armstrong dropped down a sac bun to tie the game with two outs.
Kaylee Hanks then stepped to the plate and singled back up the middle. A huge defensive blunder allowed Hanks and leadoff batter, Saydee Terrell to score after Terrell hit a fly ball to center field. The misplayed ball allowed Hanks to score from first and Terrell to round all of the bases. Aliyah Scott then grounded out 5-3 to end the inning, but the Tigers now lead 4-2.
The Panthers added single runs in the second and fourth innings while holding the Tigers at bay to tie the score up at 4-4 heading into the fifth inning.
Terrell started the fifth inning off by taking the first pitch deep to right-center field and put the visiting team back ahead. The Tigers weren't done though. Scott and Tennant both singled. On Tennant's single, an error allowed Scott to score and Tennant to move to second. Nicolette Dabbs then singled to score Tennant and extend the lead to 7-4. MCC couldn't get any other runners across the plate in the frame, but headed to the home half of the fifth with a three run lead.
After holding ECC scoreless, the Tigers moved the score to 8-4 in the top of the sixth. Terrell reached on an error, stole second and was driven in by an Ashley Tennant single.
Again the Tigers held ECC scoreless in the sixth and looked to be in control. However, the Tigers weren't able to add any insurance runs and the game headed to the bottom of the seventh inning with the home team needing four to extend the game and five to win it.
The bottom of the seventh looked like it would be no problem for the Tigers as Morgan Smith popped out to Armstrong in left for the first out of the inning. But then the bottom of the Panthers order came through. Back to back to back singles combined with a pair of errors allowed three runs to score to bring the score to 7-8.
Ivy Aulwes then popped out to center field and the Tigers were one out away from escaping.
The game wasn't over yet though. Larsen was hit by a pitch and Kylie Adden was walked. Suddenly, there were a pair of runners on and one in scoring position. A single by Gwen Hovorka scored Larsen and moved Adden to third. With the game tied and the winning run on third, Smith flew out to left field for the second time in the inning and the game moved to extras.
After Kaylee Hanks struck out swinging, Saydee Terrell stepped to the plate. The sophomore fell behind 1-2 in the count before launching a solo shot to dead center field and putting the Tigers up 9-8. Scott and Tennant recorded the second of the third outs of the innings and the Tigers needed to hold the Panthers from scoring in the bottom of the eighth to extend or win the game.
Tennant and the Tigers did just that as they Panthers went down in order and the Tigers won game one, 9-8.
Game two was a different story.
The Tigers struggled to get anything going at the plate as their first nine at bats resulted in nine outs.
Meanwhile, ECC scored early and often as Terrell, now pitching, struggled to find her control. In the bottom of the first, the Panthers plated four runs on just one single as Terrell walked three batters and hit four more. They added one in the second as Lexi Riggal reached on a walk and scored on an error. And when Tennant went back to the circle in the third, she didn't fare any better as the home team plated five runs on three hits, a walk, a hit batter, and three errors.
The Tigers put one runner in scoring position in the fourth as Aliyah Scott reached on an error and stole second with one out. However, Tennant and Dabbs each flew out to leave a "0" on the board for the Tigers.
Ellsworth extended the lead to 14-0 in the fourth inning.
Finally, the Tigers got across the plate in the fifth inning. But needing six runs to prevent being beat via run rule proved to be too big of task as DJ Schmidt and Nell Skeath, who each singled, were the only two Tigers to score when they did so on an RBI single by Kaylee Hanks.
The Tigers dropped game two of the day 14-2.