Davenport West 7, Women of Troy 1
IOWA CITY– The varsity softball season ended Monday, July 14, for the West High Trojans as they fell 7-1 in a Class 5A regional semifinal at home against the Falcons of Davenport West.
For coach Justin Lutjen, his first season with the Women of Troy ended far too soon.
“This isn’t how we wanted to end it,” he said with tears in his eyes. “We had high expectations and those will never change, and they won’t change next year.”
West, as the visitor on the scoreboard, put its only run up in the top of the first inning as Adara Opiola nailed a single and brought Taleah Smith home. The Falcons put up two runs in the bottom of the inning and followed up with two more in both the third and fourth innings with the final insult coming in the sixth.
“I give a lot of credit to (Davenport pitcher) Lexi Monty,” Lutjen said. “She was throwing that down pitch well, and you could tell, we were just getting on top and hitting a lot of weak ground balls. You have to give credit where credit is due.” Unfortunately for the Women of Troy, trouble was not limited to their offense.
“We compounded that with a lot of mental mistakes, which isn’t typical of a West High team. The bottom line is, we didn’t play well. I don’t think I coached well. And, Sal (Davenport West coach Steve Saladino)’s team was unbelievable tonight, so hats off to them. But this is a tough one for us.”
Iowa City West had four hits while the Falcons had 11 to the frustration of pitchers Jessie Harder and Laynie Whitehead.
The loss capped the Women of Troy’s’ record at 29-10 while the Falcons improved to 23-14 and advanced to the regional final against Pleasant Valley at Bettendorf on Tuesday, July 15.
Lutjen came to West from Mid-Prairie, who had a game with Benton Community immediately after the Iowa City vs. Davenport contest. While there, he compiled a 109-60 record. With his first season at West now ended, the coach looked ahead to next year. “We’re young and I’m just going to ask them to learn from this. Hopefully this is big-time motivation for the off-season, and for next year. They have to know we have to play better than that.” Lutjen and company loses only three seniors: Michaela Just, Andrea Borman and Alicia Hardin. “It’s a great group of kids. We’re losing three great seniors that have bright futures ahead of them.”
As for the season in general, Lutjen said, “It’s been wonderful. It’s been awesome. The kids were wonderful… they were better than I ever could have asked for. And, the parents were great, the administration, the school were great. I’m glad I’m here and I’m glad to be a part of it.”