ANAMOSA - Looking to head into the post-season playing some of their best softball of this COVID-19 shortened summer, the class 3A eighth-ranked Anamosa softball team looked very businesslike in a trio of impressive triumphs over Iowa City Regina, Wilton and Mid-Prairie closing out the 2020 regular season last week.
The perfect 3-0 record also allowed the Raiders to unofficially clinch a second straight River Valley Conference North division title, though due to league rules this summer, no champions are officially recognized.
“We would have tied for first with Northeast (a team the Raiders defeated in their only head-to-head match-up this season), but even without being official conference champions it still goes to show what kind of season we had and what kind of team we have here,” said Raider softball coach Brad Holub, who is surely in the running for North division Coach of the Year.
“The girls really took care of business this week and completed the conference season like I hoped they would, and we’re all ready for another post-season run that we all want to end at the state tournament.”
The week started with a hard-fought 4-1 victory at Iowa City Regina Monday, July 6.
“The final score may look a little closer than the game actually felt,” Holub said. “With the way Kalli (Minger) was pitching, we knew we weren’t going to have to score a lot of runs to win, and that’s pretty much how this one played out.”
Anamosa (11-1) got their pitcher two quick runs in the top of the first as Ellie Tallman and Grace Lubben both singled and came around to score.
Jordyn Erickson pinch ran for Lexi Bright, who doubled in the fourth, and scored thanks to an Autumn Kirby single before the visitors added some insurance in the seventh as Lubben tripled home Joslin Banowetz.
Minger was masterful tossing a three-hitter while fanning nine Regina batters while Lubben and Bright powered a nine-hit Raider offense coming through with two each.
The road show continued a night later at Wilton Tuesday, July 7, where Anamosa held on for a wild 9-7 victory over the Beavers.
“This was a very strange game,” Holub said. “Early on it looked as though whoever would score a run would win the game with the way both pitchers were throwing, but then it turned into a slugfest.”
Anamosa broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth scoring seven times in the frame, keyed by back-to-back home runs off the bats of Banowetz and Lubben. Tallman and Minger also ripped extra-base hits each coming through with doubles as it appeared the visitors had broken the game wide open.
Actually, the run scoring was just getting started.
Wilton answered plating two runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth before the Raiders did the same in the fifth to lead 9-2.
The Beavers weren’t done yet, adding four runs in the fifth inning before scoring another in the sixth to close to within two runs of the Raiders at 9-7.
“The power that we have shown with our bats this season has been so impressive,” Holub said. “With Joslin’s and Grace’s home runs in this game, we now have 12 of them on the shortened season compared to six all of last summer, and four of those were from Jessie Frasher.”
Tallman had a big game going 3-for-4 with four RBIs while Banowetz and Bright added two hits each powering an 11-hit offense.
Anamosa completed their perfect week with another businesslike 7-3 triumph hosting Mid-Prairie Wednesday, July 8.
Mady Meeker got her first varsity start in the pitchers’ circle and worked the game’s first two frames before giving way to Emily Watters who was completely dominant in the final five innings allowing a mere two hits while striking out 13 Golden Hawk batters.
“I wanted to give Maddie a shot pitching at the varsity level,” Holub said. “She has done so well at the JV level, and she may have come out with a few nerves and was a little tentative, but she was able to get herself out of those first two innings with just a little damage.”
Trailing 1-0 after Mid-Prairie scored a single run in the top of the first, the Raiders answered with three in the bottom half as Tallman, Lubben and Watters all crossed the plate as Meeker even helped herself with an RBI single.
The Golden Hawks knotted the score at 3-3 plating two in the top of the second, but the Raiders took control for good when Lubben blasted her fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot that handed the hosts a lead they would not lose.
Anamosa added two more runs in the third before Watters took over on the hill and mowed down Golden Eagle batters.
“Grace led the conference in home runs with that last blast,” Holub said. “I thought Maddie got some good varsity pitching experience and then Emily just came in and absolutely shut the Mid-Prairie offense down, that was an impressive performance.”