After winning the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday at fifth-ranked Ottumwa, the Ankeny softball team appeared to be in position to earn a sweep.
The Hawkettes jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the nightcap and had the bases loaded in the fourth inning with Jasmine Rumley, one of the state’s top hitters, coming to the plate.
This was Ankeny’s chance to break the game open, but Rumley was retired to end the threat.
Josie Lemonds then blasted a home run in the bottom of the fourth, igniting a seven-run outburst that led to Ottumwa’s first win of the season. The Bulldogs (1-3) went on to post a 13-2 victory in six innings.
“That was kind of a turning point when they got (Rumley) out,” said Ankeny coach Dave Bingham, whose team dropped to 3-1 on the season. “Once they got the momentum going, they’re a proud program. You’ve got to tip your hat to them.”
Ottumwa’s Kaylee Bix nearly hit for the cycle in the last three innings. She hit a two-run double in the fourth to break a 2-2 tie, tripled and scored a run in the fifth, and then hit a walk-off, three-run homer in the sixth.
Mandi Moore became just the second coach in Ottumwa program history to lead the team to a victory. She replaced legendary coach Frank Huston after the 2019 season.
“I’m glad we finally worked some of our kinks out and got back to playing Ottumwa softball,” Moore told the Ottumwa Courier. “That home run (by Lemonds) really gave us the kick we needed. You could tell after that, Kaylee came alive.”
Ashtyn Billings (1-1) took the loss. She allowed nine runs on 11 hits before being replaced by Kayla Brummer.
Marina Carter went 2-for-4 with a double and scored both of Ankeny’s runs in the second game. Eva Fulk drove in a run and had the Hawkettes’ only other hit.
Brummer also pitched in the opener, helping Ankeny to an 8-1 win. She tossed the final three innings after Kendra Winfrey (2-0) racked up eight strikeouts over the first four frames while allowing just one unearned run on two hits.
“We pretty much took care of business in the first game,” Bingham said. “Kendra was awesome. They didn’t really touch her.”
Carter went 3-for-4 and scored a pair of runs in the win. Madeleine Murphy went 2-for-4 and had two RBIs.
Rumley and Carter each stole two bases as the Hawkettes used their speed to rattle Ottumwa ace Kacy Nickerson and the Bulldogs’ defense, which committed four errors in the opener.
“They were really fast and they knew how to get the bunt down to make it hard on everyone to field it,” Lemonds told the Ottumwa Courier. “They were really quick. Once you got the ball in your hand, they were already on the base.”
Ankeny’s Cassie Johnson went 2-for-2 and drove in a run. Fulk doubled and had two RBIs, while Shelby Romig also knocked in two runs.
“I was really proud of our kids,” Bingham said. “We played really well.”
The Hawkettes will host a doubleheader against Des Moines Hoover (0-4) on Friday.