IMS Softball Pulls Out Win at Central Lee

IMS 6, Central Lee 5

IMS took a thrilling 6 to 5 win over Central Lee in Donnellson Monday night.  IMS put three runs on the board in the top of the first inning, sending all nine hitters to the plate.  Rubye Ney and Avery Blauvelt singled, and scored on a hit through the right side by Calli Shaw.  Hits by Hannah Harris and Rachel Miller drove in Jess Bender for the third run of the inning.  IMS could do no more damage in the first inning, despite loading the bases with only one out.  IMS pushed across two more runs in the second inning when Shaw drove in Yoder and Blauvelt with a clean single through the left side.  Central Lee clawed its way back, knotting the game at five in the bottom of the third.  Both teams failed to score again until the dramatic seventh inning.  In the top of the final inning, Calli Shaw reached on an error.  Jess Bender attempted a sacrifice bunt, but was called out when her foul tip was caught by the catcher, who then doubled Shaw off first base.  With two outs, Hannah Harris crushed a two-strike fastball into the gap in right center for a double.  Second baseman Rachel Miller then drove a two-strike pitch through the right side for a single.  Courtesy runner Alyssa Gonzales, who had entered the game for Harris, rounded third and kept running.  The relay throw to the plate beat Gonzales, but her hard slide knocked the ball from the catcher’s mitt to put IMS ahead 6 to 5.  In Central Lee’s last at-bat, two batters reached on back-to-back singles.  Both runners advanced on a ground out to Yoder at third.  With the tying run at third, the winning run at second and only one out, pitcher Hannah Harris came up with a crucial strike out.  Central Lee’s lead-off hitter lined a sharp hit to shortstop Calli Shaw, who fired the ball to Jess Bender to seal the win.

The game featured a number of outstanding plays in the field.  Catcher Blauvelt cut down a runner stealing in the top of the first to stifle a Central Lee rally.  Miller made a diving stop behind first base to take a sure hit away in the second inning.  Yoder back-handed a sharply hit ball down the third base line in the fifth to prevent two runs from scoring.  Bender completed a nifty double play in the top of the sixth, when she tagged out a Central Lee hitter who had bunted down the first base line, and then fired the ball to centerfielder Rubye Ney covering second, who tagged out a Central Lee runner trying to advance.  Harris pitched her way out of numerous jams and showed great composure.  Coach Kathryn Ney commented, “This was a great win over a solid team.  We were able to come up with big plays at key moments.  Our bunt coverage was excellent.  We felt pressure, but rose to the occasion with our presence of mind in the field.  We’re playing aggressively, getting to balls that would have been hits earlier in the year.  Hannah came through with strikeouts with runners in scoring position.  Overall, this was the game we’ve been waiting for, a complete game that brought together everything we’ve been practicing over the course of the season.”