ANAMOSA - They came to Anamosa Monday, June 10, as one of the most prodigious power-hitting softball teams in the history of Iowa High School softball.
Class 3A 11th-ranked Camanche had already blasted a whopping 42 home runs this summer, a number that leads the entire state, regardless of class, and was an amazing 14 long balls ahead of state runner-up Iowa City High (28).
Those incredible numbers didn’t bother the 12th-ranked Raider softball team one little bit, and in particular, Anamosa pitcher Kalli Minger.
“We knew we were going to have to limit the amount of home runs Camanche usually gets to be able to have a chance to win,” said Raider softball coach Brad Holub, as his team did what no other has been able to do this summer, and that was not only beat the talented Indians, but hold them without a single run taking a 4-0 final in the first game of the River Valley Conference doubleheader.
“Kalli pitched an absolutely amazing game. To hold a team like Camanche without a run is incredible, and shows what kind of level of pitcher we have here with Kalli. She’s one of the state’s best and just proved that with this kind of performance against a team that came in here with a perfect 17-0 record.”
Minger tossed a six-hit shutout and struck out eight Indian batters as the hosts plated a single run in the bottom of the third then scored three more in the fifth to break it open.
Anamosa (18-2, 9-1) added eight hits of their own as Emily Watters and Grace Lubben set the table from the top of the Raider order with two hits each while each also scored a run.
Lexi Bright and Delaney Frater also crossed the plate for the hosts as Jessie Frasher delivered a key two-run single in the fifth.
The Raiders looked to complete the sweep in the nightcap, but a costly fielding error cost the team in what ended with a tough 5-4 setback.
“We jumped on Camanche right away in the first inning scoring three times,” Holub said. “Emily was pitching well working her way through their order, but once Camanche saw her a second time things were a little different.”
Watters, Lubben and Ellie Tallman all crossed the plate in the bottom of the first before the Indians scored twice in the third.
Jessie Frasher launched a solo home run in the bottom of the third and the Raiders had their three-run lead back.
“It wouldn’t end that way though,” Holub said. “Camanche scored two runs in the sixth on an outfield error by us then got another run to take the lead.
“We couldn’t get it back. We had our chances, too.”
Watters pitched the game’s first 2.1 innings allowing five hits and two runs before Minger finished up working the final 4.2 frames yielding a mere two hits and no earned runs.
“I thought we were the better team, in both games,” Holub said. “We had them down and just didn’t finish in the second game.”
Tallman’s two hits powered a five-hit Anamosa offense in the nighcap.
The Raiders traveled to West Branch Thursday, June 13, and behind more sensational pitching and a timely offense, cruised to a 7-1 victory.
Leading 1-0 heading into the fifth, Anamosa broke the game open scoring five runs as Lubben, Tallman, Frater, Maggie Wagner and Alex Jess all crossed the plate.
Minger was dominant fanning 13 West Branch batters.
The week ended with yet with another win as Anamosa claimed a 2-0 triumph hosting class 4A 10th-ranked Marion Friday, June 14.
Lubben scored in the first thanks to an RBI hit from Minger before Maggie McQuillen crossed the plate in the second provided by an RBI single from Watters.
“This was not one of our better performances,” Holub said. “Yes, we won the game but I was not happy. It seemed like we just showed up and expected to win this one. We got away with that against Marion, but we may not against another top team. We have to show up with the right mentality all the time, or some team will make us pay for it.”