Mustangs rally for 12 runs to top Pioneers

Nathan Broek | Sports Editor

Kayla Gerken makes contact with the ball during Siouxland Conference softball against Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley Wednesday, May 30. (Photo/Nathan Broek)

George-Little Rock/Central Lyon         0-0-1-1-0-0-12  14

Okoboji                                                                1-3-2-2-0-0-0  8

MILFORD-George-Little Rock/Central Lyon was getting the type of swings it was looking for in the first six innings of its Siouxland Conference softball contest with Okoboji Friday, May 25, but the Mustangs did not start seeing the fruit of their labors until the seventh frame to claim a 14-8 victory.

The Pioneers scored one in the first and three in the second to claim a 4-0 lead. George-Little Rock/Central Lyon tallied one in the top of the third, but Okoboji came right back with two in the bottom of the third. The Mustangs tallied another single run in the top of the fourth, but the Pioneers scored two more in the bottom half for an 8-2 lead. The fifth and sixth stanzas went scoreless.

“We didn’t put up a lot of runs, but we were hitting the ball,” said George-Little Rock/Central Lyon coach Jeff Jager. “They (Okoboji) were making some plays. We did have some strikeouts, so we do need to get our timing down but once we did, we made it worthwhile in that last inning.”

That last inning was the top of the seventh where the Mustangs rallied for 12 runs.

“A little bit of everything happened in that inning. Some of it had to do with walks, hit batters and some errors. We also had some hits, so just about everything. Everything kind of went our way for that one inning.”

Jager added that he and the players felt the big inning would come.

“The girls were pretty calm. They know that it’s a long season and they know that if we struggle on offense for three or four innings, it doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point,” Jager said. “But we were able to make adjustments. They knew they were still in it and they had confidence they could do it. So it was a confidence-building game for us.”

Brecken Boekhout was one of the top hitters in this game with two hits, two runs and two RBIs. One of her hits was a triple. Wynona Steenhoven had two hits, two runs, an RBI and a steal. Nikki Bloemendaal had two hits, one run and a steal. Michaella Johnson had two hits, one run, two RBIs and a steal. One of her hits was a double. Elyse Pedersen walked twice, stole a base and scored once. Kayla Gerken had one hit, three runs, three steals and walked three times. Makayla Witt had one hit which was a double, one run and walked once.

Grace Heimensen was the starting pitcher and threw 2-2/3 innings with six hits, six runs that were all earned, one walk and no strikeouts. Madilyn Matuska threw the final 4-1/3 innings and was the winning pitcher. She had four hits, two runs that were all earned, two walks and two strikeouts.

Mustangs have tough-luck loss to Orabs

Sheldon                                                                 1-0-1-0-0-0-2  4

George-Little Rock/Central Lyon               0-1-0-0-1-0-0  2

GEORGE-George-Little Rock/Central Lyon was hitting the ball hard in its Siouxland Conference softball contest with Sheldon Tuesday, May 29, but the Orabs were making plays on defense and got a bloop single in the top of the seventh that proved to be a deciding factor in a 4-2 defeat.

The Orabs scored first with a single run in the top of the first, but the Mustangs came right back with a single run in the bottom of the second. Sheldon retook the lead with a run in the top of the third, before George-Little Rock/Central Lyon tied it up again with a single run in the bottom of the fifth.

But coach Jeff Jager noted the Mustangs could have had the lead. In the bottom of the fourth, George-Little Rock/Central Lyon left runners on second and third, and in the bottom of the fifth, the Mustangs left runners on second and third. In the sixth, George-Little Rock/Central Lyon left a runner on second and left another runner on second in the bottom of the seventh.

“We left six girls in scoring position in the last four innings, but we were hitting the ball,” Jager said. “Their shortstop, however, made two nice plays. She doubled us off on a hard line drive from Brecken Boekhout, and Makayla Witt drilled one at her as well. So she (the Sheldon shortstop) made two nice plays there, which could have led to four runs.

“So we hit the ball OK,” Jager continued. “We did have a few strikeouts, but once we got through the order the first time, I felt like we were hitting the ball a little bit better.”

But adding insult to injury was what happened in the top of the seventh frame. The Orabs had the bases loaded and two outs, but got a soft single that fell just over the head of the George-Little Rock/Central Lyon shortstop and just in front of the Mustangs’ left fielder.

“I don’t think she could have placed it any better than where she placed that one. Just kind of one of those things where it blooped in there, they were able to get two runs off of it and just a credit to them for doing that,” Jager said.

The coach felt this may have been a tough-luck loss for his team, but at the same time he did not want to take too much away from Sheldon.

“This was a game where we had a lot of opportunities to win the game, but we didn’t have things go our way,” Jager said, “but I don’t want to take anything away from Sheldon. Sheldon is a good team. They have a lot of upperclassmen that play for them but I feel like we’re right there with them.”

Kayla Gerken finished the night with two hits. One of those hits was a double. Kiley Metzger had two hits with one of her hits also being a double. Witt had one hit and one RBI. Wynona Steenhoven had one hit which was a triple, one run, a steal and two walks.

Grace Heimensen took the pitching circle to start and threw four innings with three hits, two runs of which one was earned, two walks and four strikeouts. Madilyn Matuska threw the final three innings with one hit, two runs that were both unearned, two walks and one strikeout.

G-LR/CL falls 15-1 to BH/RV

Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley                               5-2-2-3-3-X-X  15

George-Little Rock/Central Lyon                   0-1-0-0-0-X-X  1

GEORGE-George-Little Rock/Central Lyon knew the task was going to be a difficult one in its Siouxland Conference softball game with Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley Wednesday, May 30, but the Mustangs felt they could have played a better game in falling to the Nighthawks 15-1.

Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley scored five runs in the first inning and two in the top of the second off a two-run home run. George-Little Rock/Central Lyon got on the board with a single run in the bottom of the second. That run was scored off a double by Kiley Metzger.

Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley tallied two more runs in the top of the third, three more in the top of the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth to force the mercy rule.

“They (Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley) came out and put the ball in play. They hit the ball well, they ran the bases well and we came out a little flat. When you do that against a team like that, they’ll beat you badly,” said Mustangs’ coach Jeff Jager.

One positive Jager pointed out was how George-Little Rock/Central Lyon hit against one of the better pitchers in Iowa, Kaitlyn Van Der Zwaag. Van Der Zwaag came into this contest with an ERA under 1.00 and had an opponents’ batting average against of under .150. In addition to Metzger, the other hits for the Mustangs came from Makayla Witt, Bailey Herman and Michaella Johnson. Hayden Heimensen scored the lone run for George-Little Rock/Central Lyon as a courtesy runner.

“Honestly, I think we hit her (Van Der Zwaag) pretty well. But she’s good. She’s really good,” Jager said. “We can only hope to continue to improve before we face her again.”

Madilyn Matuska was in the circle to start the game and she went three innings with six hits, five runs of which three were earned, three walks and two strikeouts. Grace Heimensen threw the final two innings after Matuska was hit by a line drive. Heimensen gave up nine hits, 10 runs of which seven were earned, one walk and one strikeout.

Matuska was able to pitch for the Mustangs Thursday against MOC-Floyd Valley in Orange City.

Mustangs drop 14-6 decision to Dutch

George-Little Rock/Central Lyon                 3-0-0-3-0-X-X  6

MOC-Floyd Valley                                             4-2-2-9-0-X-X  17

ORANGE CITY-George-Little Rock/Central Lyon got within 2 (8-6) midway through its Siouxland Conference softball game with MOC-Floyd Valley Thursday, May 31, but a few key errors in the bottom of the fourth caused the Dutch to run away and hand the Mustangs a 14-6 defeat.

George-Little Rock/Central Lyon struck blood first with three runs in the top of the first. But MOC-Floyd Valley had a quick response, scoring four runs in the bottom half. The Dutch added to that lead with two in the bottom of the second and two in the bottom of the third for an 8-3 lead.

The Mustangs got the bats going again, however, with three runs in the top of the fourth, but George-Little Rock/Central Lyon made mistakes on defense in the bottom half of the frame and MOC-Floyd Valley made the Mustangs pay with nine runs.

“Hits and errors. We were right back in it, only being down 8-6 after a nice inning in the top of the fourth, but we gave it all back and then some,” said George-Little Rock/Central Lyon coach Jeff Jager.

Madilyn Matuska was in the circle after getting hit by a hard line drive in the Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley game the previous night. She tossed three innings with five hits, eight runs of which three were earned, two walks and one strikeout. Grace Heimensen threw one inning in relief with five hits, nine runs of which five were earned, two walks and no strikeouts.

“Give them some credit. They hit the ball well last night, but we didn’t hit our spots very well last night either so there are some things we can get better and the girls know that,” Jager said.

Kayla Gerken finished the game with one hit and one run. Makayla Witt had one hit, two runs and a steal. Brecken Boekhout had two hits, one run and one RBI. Wynona Steenhoven had one hit, one run, an RBI and a steal. Elyse Pedersen had one hit which was a double, two RBIs, a steal and two walks. Bailey Herman had one hit. Kiley Metzger had two hits and one run.

Jager noted the three-straight defeats have motivated George-Little Rock/Central Lyon to get better before next week.

“We just got done (Friday, June 1) with arguably one of the better practices I’ve had in my 10 years of coaching,” Jager said. “It was a hard practice, but they practiced exactly how I wanted them to practice and how they needed to practice. Now we’ll see if that translates into doing it in the game.”

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