The Ankeny Centennial softball team proved on Monday that it can play with one of the state’s best squads.
Now, the Jaguars need to figure out a way to beat one of those top teams.
Centennial dropped both games of a CIML Central Conference doubleheader at fifth-ranked Valley, 1-0 and 5-1. The Jaguars fell to 0-4 in the league and 2-4 overall.
“We obviously played well,” said Centennial coach Randy Schneider. “Kayla (Stone) did an amazing job in the first game. She kept them off-balance the whole game.”
Stone (0-2) tossed a six-hitter in the opener, but was outdueled by Valley’s Claire Stalzer. Stalzer allowed just three hits and had seven strikeouts en route to the shutout.
Alex Honnold drove in the game’s only run in the fifth inning. She went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple.
Ella Schulz went 2-for-3 for the Jaguars. Lizzie Klunder had the team’s other hit.
“We loaded up the bases in the seventh inning and had a chance to come back,” Schneider said. “We’ve been in every ball game.”
Centennial held a 1-0 lead in the nightcap before Valley scored two runs in the fourth inning. The Tigers then used a three-run sixth to seal the victory, which raised their records to 2-0 in the league and 8-2 overall.
“Valley is going to be one of the better hitting teams in the state,” Schneider said. “They got a couple of big hits, and we kind of unraveled there at the end of the game.”
Kendra Schramm doubled and knocked in two runs for Valley. Hannah Fry went 2-for-2 and scored two runs to support the four-hit pitching of Megan Decker.
Lauren Birt went 2-for-3 and drove in Centennial’s lone run of the night. Taryn Lindaman and Haley Gatica each had a hit for the Jaguars.
Gatica (2-2) was the losing pitcher. She allowed four hits and three walks while giving up four earned runs.
“It’s a learning process,” Schneider said. “We just need to continue to work on our hitting, and hopefully we’re going to be a better softball team by the middle of the season.”
The Jaguars will play a doubleheader at crosstown rival Ankeny on Wednesday.