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West’s women of Troy win eight straight

Tigers and Rams fall in softball safari
An overthrown ball is Taleah Smith’s best friend as she starts to slide into second base in a Tuesday, July 1, game at home against Cedar Falls. The error allowed the fast freshman to sprint safely to third.

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– With the end of the regular season drawing nigh, the Women of Troy were on a roll, putting eight consecutive wins into the books and improving to a 26-7 record overall (an improvement over last year’s 22-20 showing) while earning the No.7 spot in the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s final rankings of the season.
The Cedar Falls Tigers were stuffed and mounted in a visit to Iowa City on West’s Senior Night Tuesday, July 1, falling 13-0 in a four-inning opener, and coming up short in a tight 6-5 nightcap.
In the opener, the Women of Troy pushed a run across in the bottom of the first after loading up the bases. A Madi Miller RBI single in the second inning led to three runs scoring, which was quickly followed by an RBI single from Jessie Harder. A sacrifice bunt from Taylor Libby made it 6-0 while another RBI single from Grace Tafolla put the score at 7-0. Andrea Borman doubled and came home on an Autumn Barthelman RBI single to give West an 8-0 lead.
Tafolla belted out a two-run double in the third inning making it 10-0. A run in the bottom of the fourth made it 11-0 before Adara Opiola knocked a two-run homer out to end the game.
Harder pitched three innings, giving up only two hits while striking out two. Maddee Whitehead finished the short game with one hit and one walk.
Michaela Just, Andrea Borman and Alicia Hardin were recognized between games for their contribution to West High Softball.
Harder nailed an RBI triple to open the nightcap for West with a 1-0 lead. A wild pitch allowed courtesy runner Christine Kallson to score. The Tigers rallied back in the top of the second with their first two runs of the night to knot the game 2-2. The Women of Troy answered in the fourth with an RBI single from Skylar Ryan while a sacrifice by Opiola in the fifth brought Taleah Smith home for a 4-2 lead.
The Tigers weren’t done, though, as a solo home run down the left field line made it a 4-3 ballgame in the top of the sixth. The tying run scored in the top of the seventh on a long ball down the left field line. Skylar Hop, a sophomore, relieved Harder in the circle to get out of the inning, but not before the Tigers put a fifth run on the board.
The Women of Troy wasted no time in loading up the bases. With no outs, Harder drove in the tying run while the winning run scored on an error.
Harder gave up seven hits, four runs (two earned), walked two and struck out three while Hop gave up two hits and one earned run, and struck out one.
Thursday, July 3, found the team on the road at Dubuque Senior to face the Rams. Coach Justin Lutjen and company took both games, 6-0 and 6-1.
West’s first-round bye in the Class 5A regional contests puts them in action Saturday, July 12, against the winner of a Thursday, July 10, match-up between Davenport West and Davenport Central. The Women of Troy will have the home field advantage with a 7 p.m. start. A win would advance them to a Region 4 final, also at home, on Tuesday, July 15, against either Cedar Rapids Prairie or Pleasant Valley.
The girls state softball tournament is scheduled for Monday, July 21, through Friday, July 25, at Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.