Roseland round-trippers Mustangs over STC
LE GRAND – Fully rested and recharged, Katie Roseland showed what she can do at full power from the plate.
The East Marshall softball team needed every last spark of offense from Class 3A’s home run leader in a high-octane affair against NICL West Division foe South Tama County Friday.
Breaking out of a eight-game homerless streak in a first round contest Tuesday, the senior catcher picked up where she left off crushing a grand slam, a three-run homer and driving in eight runs to help the No. 4 Mustangs fend off a feisty Trojan squad, 15-10, in a Class 3A Region 7 semifinal.
“She’s the leader of this team,” East Marshall coach Jary Hoskey said of Roseland.
“She went that long without a home run because we played game after game after game without giving her some rest. … She’s one of the best catchers we’ve had at East Marshall so I’m very happy she’s here.”
The Mustangs (27-5) advance to play PCM (21-14) in the regional final Monday at 7 p.m. in State Center with a return trip to state on the line. PCM bested North Polk (19-11) by a 9-4 margin in Alleman Friday.
Getting an early boost with a three-run jack from Taylor Fricke in the first, the Mustangs used Roseland’s second and third homers of the postseason to offset a pair of Trojan rallies.
After South Tama (12-21) cut a 7-1 deficit in half with three runs in the top of the third, Roseland cleared the bases with a two-out bomb well past the center field fence in the bottom half of the frame.
The Trojans weren’t done.
South Tama sent four more runs across in the fourth to pull within 11-8, before Roseland stepped to the batter’s box once more. Swapping Kallie Hala in for starter Sam Holtz didn’t deter Roseland who drilled another shot to center plating three runs to push her team’s advantage back to six.
“I knew it would be hard to beat a team three times and whatever lead we had wasn’t safe,” said Roseland, whose Mustangs defeated STC 4-3 and 6-4 in their two previous meetings.
“Whoever got on base, I just tried to hit them around and get as many runs as I could for our team. I was just looking for my pitch and if it’s in there – rip it as hard I can.”
South Tama made one last move in the sixth with an RBI groundout by Dani Stubbs and a sacrifice fly from Madison Baack trimming the deficit to 14-10 before the Mustangs added an insurance run in their last at-bat and Mariah Fritz retired the side in the seventh.
Fritz went the distance allowing 10 runs (six earned) on 13 hits, while fanning eight and walking two. While neither offense could be held in check, the sophomore escaped a couple jams to keep her team in front.
Scoring all three runs and loading the bases with no outs in the third, South Tama couldn’t extend their rally as Fritz induced a pair of grounders for force-outs at home before retiring the next batter on strikes.
The Trojans filled the bases again with no outs in the sixth, though Fritz limited the damage to just two runs with an RBI groundout, a sacrifice fly and a strikeout.
“I just had to dig deep and have faith in my team that we could do something,” Fritz said of getting through South Tama’s early rallies.
“It’s easy pitching from a lead and I have confidence that people are going to hit from every spot in our lineup.”
The Mustangs racked up 15 hits from seven different players with a variety of slap hits, bunts and the long ball.
“There’s no perfect defensive strategy to try to stop them,” South Tama Coach Chelsea Ahrens said of the challenge in deciding where to set her defense.
“Hopefully you can keep the ball down and get ahead.”
Holtz took the loss allowing 13 runs (12 earned) on 10 hits and two walks, while fanning two in 4 2/3 innings. Hala surrendered two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Though Ahrens was encouraged with her team issuing just two walks – an area that had haunted the Trojans all season.
“That was kind of a dagger into us early in the season,” Ahrens said.
“We made them earn it – and they did. But we weren’t going to give up either. … We just couldn’t outhit them.”
Roseland finished 2-for-3 and scored three times, while Ashley Allen hit 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs and Fricke drove in three runs and scored twice. Kylee Hoskey added three hits, two runs and an RBI.
Jade Rohach powered the Trojans, going 3-for-4 with a couple doubles and driving in a run. Holtz added three hits and plated a pair of runs, while Madison Baack and Hailee Weiss each had two hits and drove in a pair.
STC pulled within 7-4 in the third with consecutive run-scoring singles from Rohach, Holtz and Stubbs, but left the bases loaded. Holtz and Weiss each plated runs on singles in the fourth and Baack added a two-run double to trim the gap to 11-8. South Tama stranded seven runners on base, while the Mustangs left on three.
Paige Miller scored twice and Callie Roseland once, while pinch runners Kelsea Anderson (3), Bobbi Amendt (1) and Amanda Paxton (1) also reached home. … Riley Craun tallied two hits and scored a run, while Appelgate scored twice and Weiss and Dani Stubbs each added a run. … The Mustangs defeated the Trojans on back-to-back nights last month including a 4-3 win in Le Grand and a 6-5 victory in Tama. Paige Miller was out for both games with a quad injury. … East Marshall defeated PCM 3-2 in their second game of the season. … South Tama entered Friday on a season-best three-game win streak. … The Trojans graduate just two seniors (Jade Rohach and Riley Craun) from their 17-member roster.