The fifth-ranked Remsen St. Mary’s softball team earned their second consecutive state tournament appearance with a 6-2 victory over #12 Akron-Westfield on Monday night.
It was on from the first pitch between the Hawks and Westerners. The two teams combined for six runs in the first inning with Akron-Westfield getting two runs in the top half on a pair of errors. Then the Hawks loaded the bases with no one out and came up with the hits they needed to get in front again with four runs in the bottom half. Remsen St. Mary’s head coach Monte Harpenau says his team’s comeback right away shows how tough his team is.
From Akron-Westfield’s perspective, head coach Victor Mena was happy to see his team jump out in front early. He says their goal was to strike early against the Hawks.
Coach Harpenau says he knew his team had a chance once they got to four runs based on their team’s run allowance average this season.
Marina Cronin’s pitching quickly became the storyline after the entertaining first inning. From the third out of the first inning to the first out of the sixth inning, Cronin did not allow a base runner retiring 14 Westerners in a row. Cronin says it took just doing what she does best and getting help from her defense to shut down the Westerners.
That defense had to shift their mentality after allowing two unearned runs on two errors in the first inning. First baseman Octavia Galles, who also drove in two runs, says the Hawk defense needed to have quick memories and get past the errors.
Once they did that, the show was on for Galles and the crew. She says watching Cronin do her thing in the circle is very entertaining.
Coach Harpenau says Cronin’s accuracy makes her a very tough pitcher to connect with.
The Westerners would not score again while Remsen St. Mary’s tacked on a run in the fifth and sixth innings to increase the advantage. The season ends for Akron-Westfield without making it to the state tournament for the second year in a row. Akron-Westfield has made 15 state tournament appearances since 2003 and this is the first time in that stretch that the Westerners missed the state tournament in back-to-back seasons. Coach Mena says, in spite of that, he’s proud of the growth and strength of his team this season.
Remsen St. Mary’s now has a week to prepare for their first-round matchup in the state tournament. Coach Harpenau knows that his team didn’t play small ball to their best level on Monday night. He says if they can’t get all facets of their offense working, it’s going to be a short stay for the Hawks in Fort Dodge.
The Hawks are the four-seed in the 1A bracket and will matchup with Southeast Warren on Tuesday, July 19 at 5:30 PM. KLEM Radio will broadcast the game live with coverage beginning at 5:15.