Senior Sophie Buttjer has appeared in only five games this season for the Ankeny softball team, pitching a total of 10 2/3 innings.
Buttjer was sidelined by a blood clot in her leg that prevented her from being a part of the Hawkettes’ regular rotation on the mound.
“It was an emotional deal,” said Ankeny coach Dave Bingham. “I think she would have really helped us through some of our inconsistencies.”
Buttjer was honored on Saturday prior to the eighth-ranked Hawkettes’ non-conference game against North Polk, the No. 6 team in Class 3A. The Comets posted a 3-2 victory, but the outcome wasn’t all that important, Bingham said.
“There was just a lot going on,” he said. “It was really about the journey that our seniors have been on and it had a lot to do with Soph(ie), because she hasn’t been able to be with us.”
North Polk (22-6) scored a run in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie. Hannah Pals hit a solo home run and also tossed a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead the Comets.
Marina Carter went 2-for-3 and drove in both of Ankeny’s runs in the fourth inning. Peyton Daugherty went 2-for-4, stole two bases and scored a run.
Paige Jacobsen (11-6) took the loss. She allowed one earned run on two hits over the final 4 1/3 innings.
Ankeny (27-10) will return to CIML Central Conference play on Monday, when the Hawkettes travel to No. 9 Valley (26-9) for a showdown against the Tigers. Both teams are 13-4 in the conference, so the doubleheader will decide the league title if one team gets a sweep.
If the twinbill produces a split, the two teams would remain tied for first place. In that case, both teams could be required to play one more conference game that was postponed due to rain–Ankeny would play rival Ankeny Centennial while Valley would finish a game against Ames.
“If we split, I guess it would be up to our administrators,” Bingham said. “But I’m up for anything.”
Ankeny and Valley could also meet in regional play. Both teams have been placed in Class 5A Region 2.
“If we see Valley in the regional final, it’ll be a great game regardless of what happens on Monday night,” Bingham said. “But it is kind of an interesting situation.”