WILTON, Iowa — They received help and they did it themselves.
Wilton’s softball team didn’t have to face Class 2A top-ranked Durant in the regional final, then knocked off 14th-ranked Jesup with 16 hits and multiple home runs.
And on Monday night, the Beavers again got help and did it themselves.
Ignited by five Bellevue errors and 13 hits of their own, Wilton clobbered the Comets 11-0 in five innings to claim their first state tournament berth in nine years.
As the eighth seed, they’ll face a familiar opponent in third-ranked and No. 1 seed Louisa-Muscatine on Monday in the first round, a rematch of a game at L-M’s tournament back in May won by the Falcons 5-3.
“We always had that goal at the beginning of the season, but we were going through some ups and downs,” Beavers head coach Kortney Denkman said after notching career win No. 100. “At the end of the year, we really started clicking and I think that’s when they started believing in themselves.”
Both Wilton and Bellevue have two seniors and started freshmen in the circle. Chloe Wells could tell there was a difference between the River Valley Conference foes before the first pitch was thrown.
“Our energy was booming, we wanted this so bad,” the Wilton third basemen said. “Our thing was go all out, be crazy.”
That energy earned the Beavers (25-15) five runs in the first two innings.
Wells drove in Kortney Drake on a double for the first run of the evening. Taylor Garvin plated two more as she reached on the second Comet error of the inning.
Drake hit a pop-up to left field in the second inning that was dropped by Comets left-fielder Lindsey Banowetz and scored two more.
“I think it gave us more confidence during the game,” senior Alexis Maurer said. “When one person starts to hit, it’s continuous.”
Bellevue (16-14) fell victim to the bright lights.
“Maybe the moment got to us,” Comets head coach Adam Smith said. “They shut us out, it was all facets where they basically dominated us. It was all their game from the word go.”
As Mila Johnson dealt a complete game shutout in the circle, Wilton added more runs to back up the right-hander.
Wells and Garvin delivered RBI hits in a three-run, five-hit fourth and Wells drove in the final two runs plus herself to seal the victory and start the festivities to end the game in five.
“I knew that they were both in, but if you’re going to get those two in, might as well keep going for it,” said Wells, who went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. “Even if they got me out, it didn’t really matter.”
Drake, Emily Coss and Karlie Schult each had two hits and scored at least once. Garvin drove in a pair on a double.
The Comets fell one game short of going to Fort Dodge, but they return all but their catcher and center-fielder for next year.
“Incredibly proud of what we accomplished this year,” Smith said. “We have a lot of returning people, we’ll need people to step up and try again next year.”
Denkman sees the offense as a reason Wilton can do damage in the state tournament. Since dropping four of five near the end of June, it has won 10 of its last 12 and averaged 11.5 hits per game.
“I think we can do some great things,” she said. “We can turn some heads out there.”