SWEA CITY - The Belmond-Klemme softball team is making coach Jodi Barrus' final season at the Broncos' helm a memorable one.
Only one night after hammering out a 14-4, five-inning, first-round playoff victory over West Hancock, Belmond-Klemme upended Iowa Class 2A, No. 6-ranked North Union, 2-1, in the Region 2 quarterfinals Wednesday night in Swea City.
Leadoff hitter Keyra Cook's RBI single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning propelled the upset-minded Broncos (11-16) into Friday's 7 p.m. regional semifinals against St. Ansgar - an 8-7 quarterfinal survivor over Lake Mills. The site of the playoff clash was originally scheduled for Swea City, but will likely be changed to a different venue.
DUSTY?RUN — North Union runner Kyarsten Mullen slides under Belmond-Klemme catcher Taylor Walrod to beat the throw to the plate during sixth-inning Iowa Class 2A, Region 2 quarterfinal softball action Wednesday night in Swea City. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"What can I say, we just didn't hit the ball with authority tonight," said Warriors mentor Art Ingalls, whose lineup ended its season with a 26-6 record.
Indeed. Broncos sophomore right-hander Mackenzie Tenold limited the normally hard-hitting Warrior bats to only one run on just three hits in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory. Tenold recorded four strikeouts, issued two walks and hit one batter.
"She (Tenold) is one of several players on this year's team who have played on the varsity for me since they were eighth-graders, and they're starting to put it all together," said Jodi Barrus, who will exit the program at the end of this summer.
Tenold and North Union junior ace right-hander Peyton Oleson matched each other strike-for-strike through three scoreless innings before North Union seemed destined to plate the playoff clash's initial run during the top of the fourth.
Oleson was grazed with a two-out delivery by Tenold before the Warriors' hurler was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner Shaylee Hanning.
Bre Anderson hammered the next pitch to right-center for a double, but right fielder Natalee Dippel's ensuing throw to second base nabbed the Warrior hitter, who had barely rounded the bag, before Hanning had reached the plate to result in no run.
Ironically, Belmond-Klemme turned the tables on a similar play during the bottom of the fourth to grab a 1-0 lead.
Taylor Walrod singled with one out, courtesy runner Vanessa Wessels advanced to second when Tenold reached via a wild pitch on a strikeout and scored on Rebecca Soma's RBI single to center. Ironically, the Warriors threw out courtesy runner Logann Elkin at third base on the play, but not before Wessels crossed the plate.
North Union tied the game in the top of the sixth when Kyarsten Mullen drilled a leadoff double, moved to third on Autumn Boland's sacrifice bunt and scored on Dena Looft's RBI suicide-squeeze bunt.
Tenold later reached on a Warrior error to open the Broncos' seventh at-bat before courtesy runner Elkin moved to second on Soma's bunt that did not produce an out.
Oleson struck out the next batter, but a missed tag on a fielder's choice loaded the bases for Cook, who delivered Elkin to the plate with the game-winning RBI single to left.
Oleson allowed two runs - both unearned - on five hits, recorded a game-best 10 strikeouts and issued only one walk in 6 1/3 innings of work.
NU 000 001 0 - 1 3 2
BK 000 100 1 - 2 5 0
Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Peyton Oleson (LP) and Autumn Boland. Mackenzie Tenold (WP) and Taylor Walrod.
LOB-No. Union 5; Belmond-Klemme 8. 2B-Kyarsten Mullen (NU), Bre Anderson (NU). SAC-Boland (NU), Dena Looft (NU), Taylor Mathine (NU), Lindsey Mason (BK), Rebecca Soma (BK), Natalee Dippel (BK).