Try 1 month for 99¢

FORT DODGE, Iowa — In one last huddle, a familiar shout: "CATS!"

For some within that huddle, Friday was a decade-long commitment fulfilled, a tough good-bye or a celebration.

All the players on the Durant High School softball team left that huddle with their heads held high — and their new trophy held even higher.

The Wildcats completed their impressive run at the Class 2A state tournament, knocking off defending champion Treynor 3-0 Friday in the championship game at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.

Durant (35-8) allowed zero runs in three tournament games and held Treynor to two hits, winning the Wildcats' first softball title. Paige Compton, the 2A all-tournament team captain, completed a streak of 27 consecutive scoreless innings when Kayli Christensen flied out to right-fielder Jaclyn Ralfs.

"We didn't have to play anything but our game," Compton said. "We just had to play Wildcat softball and we were going to get the job done."

Compton allowed one hit in the first inning and another in the fifth. Along the way, she retired 13 consecutive batters at one point, finishing with three strikeouts and no walks.

The senior couldn't pinpoint a reason for shaking off a nervousness that had followed her through the Wildcats' 2012 season that ended with a third-place finish.

"Maybe it's experience, but I never felt nervous at all this season," Compton said.

When Anna Bentley was used as a change-of-pace pitcher in certain tight games, Compton was unfazed.

"I have a lot of confidence in Anna and I'm just glad that I peaked at the end of the year," Compton added.

The satisfaction of a championship placed a fitting bookend on a devotion to softball since Compton was 7.

"It's the best way to finish off my career," Compton said. "We've all been playing together forever ... and it's been great to have been a part of that."

Durant and Treynor were scoreless after three innings as Compton and Cardinals pitcher Madison Keysor got help from their defenses to strand runners in scoring position.

A strong wind blew in throughout the game, taking a lot of power out of both teams' bats.

"I thought the wind worked in my favor for my pitching at least, it put a lot of movement on the ball," Compton said. "It was fun battling against (Keysor)."

Bentley's first hit started the fourth inning and an errant throw by Treynor first baseman Emma Fiene allowed Shannon Telsrow to reach base safely and Bentley's pinch runner, Courtney Ralfs, to reach third.

Jaclyn Ralfs then butned, rolling it just far enough away from home plate to allow Courtney to score under the tag of Treynor's Kate Killinger.

"Nothing was going to carry out there," Durant coach Steve Hopkins said of the windy conditions. "We had to have line drives and ground balls ... When we needed to, we would bunt. The girls did a great job all week executing our game plan and that's all I can ask for."

Kristin Porstmann slammed an RBI double to score Telsrow and Ashli Williams singled to bring in Jaclyn Ralfs as Durant jumped ahead 3-0.

"It was insane," Durant shortstop Sidney Lilienthal said of the Wildcats' scoring run. "Once we got things going, there was no stopping anybody."

Lilienthal did her part defensively, throwing out Killinger from her knees in the first inning to keep Treynor from having runners on first and second with one out.

Lilienthal and Porstmann were each named to the all-tournament team along with Compton.

Those are three of six Durant seniors leaving the team after Friday's triumph. Lilienthal, who also played basketball and volleyball at Durant, was in tears afterwards, hugging family members, teammates and friends.

"It's hard knowing you're not coming back next year," Lilienthal said. "Sports have been such a huge part of my life. They made me who I am. It's hard letting that part go, but this is the best way in the world to go out."

Porstmann finished the tournament 4-for-9 with an RBI as Durant's No. 9 hitter. She was behind the plate for Compton all season and said she was proud to help Compton go on an impressive shutout streak.

"We were working with her movement, trying to put it in the right places to lure (hitters) in or to just get them to not swing," Porstmann said.

When thinking about the end of the road for her Durant softball journey, Porstmann, too, couldn't hold back tears.

"We did a lot together," she said. "With us giving all we got and winning — it wasn't really so much a goodbye, but a final hurrah."

0
0
0
0
0