Four NCAA Div. III championships
WAVERLY— It was an early start and a quick finish for the No. 6 Central College softball team Saturday, hammering Wartburg College 11-2 and 14-0 in a pair of five-inning games.
The contests started at 11 a.m. because of the threat of late-afternoon thunderstorms and by the scheduled start time of 2 p.m., the Dutch (25-5 overall, 6-2 Iowa Conference) had already wrapped up a pair of league victories. Wartburg dipped to 6-28 overall and 0-10 in the conference.
Central racked up 23 hits in scoring 25 runs. Freshman designated player Abbey Strajack (Davenport, Assumption HS) had four hits and scored four runs on the day while sophomore Jordan Overland (Madrid, Boone HS), making her first collegiate starts at first base, had three hits, a walk and scored five runs. Freshman third baseman Whitney Sowers (Marshalltown) had three hits and three RBIs. Shortstop Annie Sarcone (sophomore, Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) knocked in six runs and scored three while second baseman Angela Davis (senior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) had six RBIs, catcher Kyrie Hale (senior, Lee’s Summit, Mo., West HS) had four RBIs and center fielder Holly Von Fumetti (senior, Johnston) scored three runs.
Pitcher Rhianna Fleetwood (junior, Sycamore, Ill.) gave up a pair of unearned runs and four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in five innings in the opener, improving to 9-2. Brie Haycraft (sophomore, Eldridge, North Scott HS) followed with a three-hit shutout in the nightcap. She had no walks and four strikeouts in five innings and faced only 17 batters, just two above the minimum as she upped her record to 8-3.
It was an unusual day, especially with the early morning departure, but coach George Wares liked his team’s effort.
“In the past we’ve had a lot of teams that didn’t play quite the way they need to in games like this,” Wares said. “We had one five-out inning when we made two errors and they scored their two runs. That was a little disappointing, but other than that we were pretty solid all day.”
The Dutch also had to adjust to being without standout catcher Caitlyn Meyer (junior, Newton), who was injured in Monday’s wins over Dubuque and is sidelined indefinitely. Wares moved Hale from first base to fill Meyer’s spot at catcher and inserted Overland, a shortstop/third baseman, at first.
“I thought Jordan looked good at first,” Wares said. “She had good at-bats today, too. She’ll be fine. And Kyrie did well behind the plate. The pitchers looked comfortable throwing to her.”
Davis tied the school career triples mark with 16 on a two-run triple in the first inning of the opener. She now shares the record with Shannon Merkle (1992-95). Davis also ranks sixth in career hits with 175, moved into a tie for fourth in career runs with 118 and is up to eighth in career RBIs with 87.
Sarcone is now tied for seventh in season RBIs with 34. She leads the team with a .457 batting average.
Central, which has played just four of its 30 games in Pella, will be home for a pair of league doubleheaders this week. Cornell College visits Wednesday for a 3 p.m. twinbill and Simpson College is Saturday’s 2 p.m. opponent on Alumni Day at the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex field. Cornell gave Central a scare at Mount Vernon last year. The Dutch won the opener 10-2 in five innings, then escaped with a 4-3 victory in the nightcap. The Rams surprised Simpson College Saturday 2-0 before dropping the second game, 3-0. They stand at 17-11 overall and 4-4 in the league.