CAMANCHE, Iowa — Over the last three games before its postseason opener, Camanche’s offense was in a funk.
Dropping a one-run contest to Iowa City Regina and getting swept by West Delaware — two ranked teams in two different classes — the Indians scratched together three total runs.
Madi Parson knows why.
“We were expected to hit home runs, people expected it of us, and we started expecting it ourselves,” the senior catcher said. “So we felt like we had to hit a home run or we wouldn’t score.”
So against Tipton on Wednesday night in its Class 3A quarterfinal, Camanche focused on line drives instead of long balls.
Plating 10 runs on eight hits in the first and five runs on seven hits in the second, it took the ninth-ranked Indians 50 minutes to dispose of the Tigers 15-0 in three innings at Camanche High School.
Camanche (31-9) will advance to the semifinals and face West Burlington (24-11) on Friday for a spot in the regional title game Monday night.
“I’d love to tell you it was something magical, but we’ve played some pretty good pitchers lately,” Indians head coach Kevin Roling said. “Momentum goes a long way so we were pretty pleased to gather than momentum right off the bat.”
While 14 of the 15 hits stayed inside the park, one went over the fence.
Lauren Snyder belted a two-run home run to left-center field to up the lead to 12-0. It’s the 60th long ball of the season for Camanche, eight away from breaking the single season mark of 67 set by Cedar Rapids Jefferson in 2017.
Parson admitted an extended postseason run will be needed to get a shot at the record.
“We’re all pushing really hard for it,” she said. “It’s good its going to take more than that. It’s motivating us in the right way.”
Parson, Abby Stock, Camaryn Carstensen and Hanna Nissen got the offense rolling before an out was recorded.
The four seniors occupying the two-through-five spots in the lineup combined for nine hits, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored.
Parson began the scoring in the double-digit frame with an RBI single. An error drove in two more, and Abby Beal lined a double to make it 5-0. Allison Kenneavy hit an RBI groundout to make it 6-0.
With two outs, Jamie Robertson’s double kick-started four more runs. In the second, Parson, Stock and Nissen all drove in runs.
Camanche sent 10 or more batters to the plate in both frames.
“This game helped us figure out if we just hit line drives, or grounders in the gaps and get on base, we can still score and win the game,” said Stock, who earned her 19th win in the circle by allowing zero hits and two base runners. “Timely hitting instead of home runs. You can’t rely on home runs to win a game.”
Tipton (5-29) got one runner to second base, but that was it against Stock. It had four errors in the first inning.
“We did not expect that. This is not what Tipton softball usually looks like,” Tigers head coach Brooklyn Koranda said. “Having that big inning against us is hard to come back. Extending the game was our goal.”
Despite the loss, Koranda is optimistic about the future. She loses just two seniors on a roster assembled of 12 underclassmen.
“There has been a lot of learning,” she said. “We have always tried to get our girls to have a positive mindset on everything because we need to have a positive mindset to be successful. This season will help us improve and get to where we need to be in the next couple of years.”
For five Camanche seniors, getting to a regional title game is first on their minds. After dropping in the semifinals to Mount Vernon last year, the Indians are focused on that step before a possible rematch with top-ranked Assumption for the opportunity to play in Fort Dodge.
“You can’t look past the second game because if you look past that, we lose and we don’t even get to play Assumption,” Stock said. “Last year we definitely could’ve went further than we did, and I don’t want that to happen again.”