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Van Meter 12, Mt. Ayr 3
The Raiderettes played a second game at Fort Dodge, entering the consolation bracket after their first round loss to Central Springs on Tuesday.
Van Meter (31-10) also fell in the first round, matching up the two squads in the fifth place consolation bracket.
Unfortunately, for the Raiderettes, they fell to the Bulldogs 12-3 after seven innings that lasted into the two hours and 30 minute mark, almost a new State Softball record, however, Carlisle versus Norwalk went two hours and 45 minutes just two days earlier, on Monday.
Van Meter scored first in the contest, scoring two runs in the bottom of the second after a sacrifice bunt flustered the Raiderettes and saw the two runs across home plate.
Mount Ayr answered back in the top of the third on a two-out rally after senior Payten Lambert collected a single and senior Addy Reynolds drew a walk.
Freshman, Breya Nickle, drove in the two seniors on a double that fired up the Mount Ayr crowd.
The Bulldogs found the sweet spot in the bottom of the third, however, and opened the flood gates.
Van Meter loaded the bases with no outs, but a sacrifice bunt saw Reynolds toss to Nickle for the out to take a little pressure off the Raiderettes.
Van Meter freshman Finley Netten had a grounder that was hit into left field, but two more Bulldog runs crossed the plate as Tabby Henle launched the ball to home, just late.
Another Bulldog Freshman, Cali Richards, drove in two more runs, before teammate Maia Abrahamson drove in a run to lead the Raiderettes 7-2.
The Raiderettes saw Reynolds draw the walk before senior Halsie Barnes drove in her teammate to make the game 8-3.
Taylor Lumbard came in late in the game and collected a hit that saw her land at first before the Raiderette bats were retired.
Van Meter would go on to score four more in the fifth as the next two innings went scoreless and the season ended for both teams.
After the conclusion of the contest in which Mount Ayr’s three senior players collected hits,, the Raiderettes received a trophy and a bucket of Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union softballs.
Senior Addy Reynolds, who is headed to the University of Iowa to play softball, spoke of the culmination of her Raiderette career.
“I think I’ve said it a lot of times,” said Reynolds. “This is the best way to end our season and we didn’t expect it at all. We weren’t picked to beat I-35. We wanted to at least get a win but getting up here was the best way to end my senior year.”
Reynolds loves her teammates and spoke highly of the team surrounding her.
“I think this is the best group yet,” said Reynolds. “There’s been so many friendships that came from this season, bringing the Diagonal girls over and they kept it lively, Anna is always yelling in the dugout and Taylor has been quiet but she has broken out of her shell and is a stick that we can use and she has done really good at third base in JV, so if they stay next year she will find her way on the field, they both will.”
Reynolds had plenty of moments to choose from over her five year career and narrowed her favorite down to a couple.
“Any chance we get to come back up here [Fort Dodge] is memorable,” said Reynolds. “My most memorable was when we got third my freshman year. We ended our season on a win and it was so special to spend that with Caroline who was a senior and I looked up to her.”
Halsie Barnes also looked back on her season and career, trying to take it all in before heading to Southwestern Iowa Community College in Creston to play softball for the Spartans.
“It’s crazy because at the beginning of the season we just didn’t know where we would be,” said Barnes. “So just being up here with the girls and dying our hair pink and putting tinsel in our hair, it’s just fun, I love these girls, it’s going to be hard.”
Fort Dodge is a fun place to spend the end of the season as a softball player and Barnes attested to that.
“Staying in the dorms and just being with everybody and all the shenanigans that we have going on in there, that’s probably the best part,” said Barnes. “Playing is a bonus, but being with the girls and hanging out is a lot of fun and making a lot of memories and lifelong friendships that you don’t forget about.”
Barnes is sad to see her Raiderette career come to an end, but is excited for what the future holds, with the Spartans under head coach Danny Jensen.
“I’m excited, it’s a great opportunity, it’s going to be fun,” said Barnes. “I get to keep playing the sport that I love. Danny is a great guy and with Tess, it will be fun.”
Payten Lambert is also ending her Raiderette career before heading off to Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO to study elementary educaction.
“The beginning of the season we didn’t think we would be here, so that’s definitely a plus,” said Lambert. “Being with this team is like being with a whole other family. I couldn’t ask for better teammates to be with.”
Lambert reflected on the first time heading to State as her favorite memory with senior leader, Caroline McAlexander.
“Definitely the first year we went to State,” said Lambert. “Nothing compares to that. Caroline was our senior leader. That was probably my best softball expierence yet and now that we are back as seniors, it feels really good.”
The Raiderettes were joined by two Diagonal Maroonettes who’s season was in limbo as they tried to find enough girls to field a team.
The Maroonettes were unable to and they joined forces with Mount Ayr.
“It’s been great, how everyone has treated us. I never thought I’d be here playing and have support from both Mount Ayr and Diagonal,” said Lumbard. “I have such great leaders from Mount Ayr that I got to play with this year.”
The future of Diagonal Softball hangs in the balance, however, there is hope from the Maroonettes that they can field a team next year and Lumbard plans to bring a well of knowledge back to the Bluegrass Conference and maybe make some trouble for some teams.
“I can bring back a lot of things,” said Lumbard. “We were in a whole other conference and saw a bunch of different teams, and good teams. We are up here. There’s a lot of things we can take back and it’s been so great.”
Lumbard didn’t do it alone, with Anna Newton by her side every step of the way, while Newton became a leading voice from the dugout.
“She is definitely the loudest one out there and you can always hear her in the dugout,” said Lumbard. “When I’m up to bat, or anyone.”