Cyclones bow out to 4A softball powerhouse

4A Regional Final: Carlisle 12, Harlan Community 0 (3)... Wildcats end game early with pair of six spots

 CARLISLE (July 21) -- The little things added up in a hurry against Harlan Community Tuesday night, turning a potentially closer game - or at least a longer one - into a quick three-inning affair.
 An error here, a bad call there, a base hit that barely eluded a Cyclone glove - something always seemed to keep Carlisle’s inning alive.
 Throw in the fact that the top-ranked Wildcats are a very talented and complete softball team and it all added up to a 12-0, Class 4A regional final loss for the 14th-ranked Cyclones.
 Carlisle (18-3) scored six runs in the second inning and six more in the third (all with two outs) to end the game early and clinch the program’s 18th trip to the State Softball Tournament in Fort Dodge since 1993. The defending champion Wildcats faced Le Mars (14-5) in a 4A quarterfinal on July 27.
 HCHS, playing in its first regional final since 2013, finished 15-5 overall without a single senior on the roster. The Cyclones have gone 43-13 over the last two seasons.
 “We are a small 4A school so we were happy to be where we were, [but] we definitely wanted a different outcome,” said HCHS coach Toshia Kasperbauer.
 “I just asked every single one of them, ‘Did you come in and give 100 percent?,’ and they shook their head yes... I said, ‘If you can say you gave 100 percent in this game then you don’t have anything to hang your head about.’ They’re just the better team and we have to give them that credit.”
 Whether as starters, a flex, pinch runners or a pinch hitter, Carlisle utilized 15 players in just three innings Tuesday, and its overall team skill set was as versatile as a Swiss Army knife.
 Meredith Hoffman, the number three hitter, put down a successful safety squeeze bunt in one at-bat and blasted a home run over the left field fence the next. Possessing a mix of right and left-handed batters, the Wildcats hit for power, bunted effectively, slapped line drives and stole three bases.
 Carlisle also has a very good pitcher in Molly Hoekstra, one of eight seniors on the roster. Hoekstra (13-1) walked one and struck out four in three hitless innings, consistently getting late swings out of HCHS with some deceptive speed. The five Cyclones that put the ball in play all grounded out softly to the right side.
 From a pitching standpoint, the Cyclones rotated sophomore Tianna Kasperbauer and junior Emily Brouse - each of them getting two stints in the circle.
 Kasperbauer, who started and faced just four batters in the first, combined to pitch two innings. She gave up five hits and five runs, all unearned. Brouse (9-4) took the loss, allowing six hits and seven runs (five earned) while recording two outs. The two Cyclone pitchers combined to issue three walks and both hit one batter while striking out none.
 Carlisle sent 26 batters to the plate in less than three full innings at-bat. Kennedy Preston, Kennady Prenosil and Delaney Schnathorst led the way with two hits each and Hoffman had the home run and three RBI.

Class 4A, Region 4 Softball Tourney
First Round Scores: Thursday, July 16
Knoxville 1, Pella 0            Lewis Central 3, Glenwood 1
Regional Semifinal Scores: Saturday, July 18
Carlisle 11, Knoxville 2      Harlan Community 6, Lewis Central 1
Regional Final: Tuesday, July 21
#1 Carlisle 12, #14 Harlan Community 0 (3)

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