AHSTW rallies past Wolves in regional softball play

 IRWIN (July 13) -- Down 3-0 after three innings Monday night, the AHSTW softball team refused to bow to the pressures of tournament time in its Class 2A regional opener at IKM-Manning.
 Both teams put the ball in play consistently all night with 18 total hits and just two strikeouts, but it was the Lady Vikes who stayed steady on defense and used two big innings to rally past the Wolves 8-4.
 AHSTW, which defeated IKM-Manning 12-1 just 11 days earlier, fell behind 3-0 in the first inning before turning things around with a five-run fourth and a three-run fifth. During that pivotal two-inning stretch, the Lady Vikes had five solid hits and also took advantage of five Wolves’ errors that resulted in six of the eight runs being unearned.
 IKM-M committed eight errors all told compared to just two for AHSTW - neither of which cost senior pitcher Madison Thornton any runs.
 Lady Vike head coach G.G. Harris credited his team for not panicking early and for sticking with their approach and perspective at the plate, items that have been “a work in progress” during this shortened 2020 season.
 AHSTW (10-7) won its fifth straight game and advanced to Wednesday’s Region 1 quarterfinal at fifth-ranked West Monona (18-1).
 “Four weeks ago... if that would have been our first three innings I’m not sure,” Harris said. “We wouldn’t have given up but our approach would have changed if the ball (wasn’t falling) our way or if we’re having (poor) at-bats or having good at-bats but not seeing results."
 IKM-Manning, which finished 3-11 overall, couldn’t have asked for a much better start Monday. Consecutive first-inning singles by Bianca Cadwell, Lexi Branning and Amber Halbur set the stage for Joanna Freese’s two-out, bases-clearing triple just off the outstretched glove of center fielder Sydney Zimmerman.
 Thornton (5-2) settled in after that, holding the Wolves to just two base runners over the next three innings and giving the Lady Vikes time to rally.
 “Kudos to (AHSTW),” said IKM-M coach Joy Gross. “They made plays and they took advantage of every opportunity that they had. We had a great start, (but) we had opportunities that we couldn’t cash in on and we made too many fundamental mistakes.”
 Zimmerman and Grace Porter both went 2-for-4 and combined to score three runs for the Lady Vikes, who were outhit 10-8 overall. AHSTW’s five and six hitters twice started innings with back-to-back hits. Each Lady Vike starter finished the game with at least a hit, a run scored or an RBI.
 Amber Halbur led the Wolves offensively with three singles, Branning was 2-for-3 with a triple and two runs scored and Cadwell hit two infield singles. Freese had the early three-run triple and Jessica Christensen added a double.

Class 2A, Region 1 Softball Tourney
First Round Scores: Monday, July 13
AHSTW 8, IKM-Manning 4          Missouri Valley 13, Tri-Center 3 (6)
Quarterfinal Scores: Wednesday, July 15
West Monona 6, AHSTW 1       Underwood 10, Missouri Valley 3
CB St. Albert 5, Treynor 4 (8)    Logan-Magnolia 10, MVAOCOU 5

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