Spartans’ journey ends in a win

GLADBROOK – Grundy Center’s wild four-game flurry in the last 48 hours had one last detour in the way.

This time, the Spartans came out on the right path.

One night after hosting a pair of opponents in an unconventional doubleheader, the Grundy Center softball team took things a step further Wednesday with two different opponents at two different road sites.

Just hours after being shutout 9-0 by Class 3A No. 2 East Marshall in Le Grand, the Spartans put up seven runs in the first inning and held on for an 8-4 win over Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

“It’s a weird situation that I’ve never been in before nor have the girls,” Spartans coach Jeff Mathews said. “Maybe last night’s experience helped us tonight. But you get on the bus to go to East Marshall and you have to take detours – it’s been a long night.”

The start of Wednesday’s nightcap had the look of a quick game with four walks, a hit batsman and two errors helping Grundy Center (4-21, 4-16) race out to a 7-0 advantage. G-R rallied back with three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth, though they had the tying run at the plate when a reversed call ended the surge.

Nicole Adair’s two-out double to center field plated Hanna Christopher to pull within 7-4 before Hayley Weber was hit by a pitch. Adair and Christopher each advanced a base when Spartan pitcher Kayla Mathews had the ball in the circle though both runners were initially ruled safe by the field umpire.

Play stopped for a few minutes and the plate umpire eventually switched the call and ruled Weber out after discussion with the field ump and both coaches.

“We had the exact same play last night (against G-R) and they called our girl out,” coach Mathews said. “I just explained the situation. The field ump didn’t see it and the home ump did. Once we talked it through they made the right call.

“(Weber) stopped, went back and then went forward. By definition of the rule she’s out. I just wanted it to be called correctly.”

Gladbrook-Reinbeck (2-25, 2-18) threatened again in the sixth when Madison White hit her second double – a hard line drive off the glove of third baseman Josie McMartin, though Mathews retired the next two batters. Grundy Center added an insurance run in the seventh as Alyssa Mathews tripled to right field and scored on Jessika VanDeest’s single.

G-R’s final at-bat came up empty as Christopher reached on an error and Jordan LaBarge walked but were both left stranded. The Rebels left 10 runners on base in the game and left them loaded in the third.

Kayla Mathews went the distance for the win scattering six hits, while striking out four.

Grundy Center used three walks and an Alyssa Mathews RBI single to tally their first run. Another came in when VanDeest was beaned and Cearra Aguon reached on an error to make it 3-0. Another run came across when Landry Luhring drew a base on balls before Madison White replaced Katy Thompson in the circle.

Harper Wells followed with an RBI single and two more runs scored on an error to cap the Spartans’ seven-run surge.

Both pitchers got some revenge in the fourth. White smacked a two-run double to left field and Thompson followed with an RBI single to pull G-R within 7-3.

“The girls played really well tonight and they battled,” G-R coach Danielle Clark said. “They just had the one bad inning. To me, they won it but the scoreboard says differently. They came back and dug themselves out of a hole, but we just didn’t have enough time to get out of that hole.

“We just couldn’t get our bats consistently behind each other to really dig out far enough to come out with a win.”

Notebook

Grundy Center lost to West Marshall 15-0 and Gladbrook-Reinbeck 7-4 in a pair home games Tuesday. The Rebels host South Hardin tonight, while the Spartans entertain South Tama County.