Golden Hawks finish strongly

Mid-Prairie scores regional victory against Tipton in shortened summer season

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 7/30/20

The chatter from the Mid-Prairie dugout echoed around the ballpark in Tipton.

Here was a team that had won just one game all season long.

The Golden Hawks had to play their Class 3A softball …

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Golden Hawks finish strongly

Mid-Prairie scores regional victory against Tipton in shortened summer season

Posted

The chatter from the Mid-Prairie dugout echoed around the ballpark in Tipton.

Here was a team that had won just one game all season long.

The Golden Hawks had to play their Class 3A softball tournament opener on the road.

And they turned an away game into a rocking home game with all that noise. The Golden Hawks walked away with a 9-4 victory. Rylee Vercande, one of the team’s faces of the future as a sophomore, had three hits. Jaselyn Roberton, one of five seniors, hit a home run.

Watching it all so proudly was head coach Mallory McArtor, herself a former Mid-Prairie player.

“This is probably the first time in almost five years that we made it past the first round,” McArtor said. “A lot of times we’ve been up against the top teams … and we don’t get past that first round. Just getting to this phase is something we’ve been looking forward to and something to get kind of excited about.”

It could be the start of something big for Mid-Prairie softball. Faced with a short preseason camp and quick-hitting schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Golden Hawks lost their first eight games before defeating Monticello 13-3 on Senor Night in Kalona. Vercande had four hits in that game, and an 18-hit barrage include three hits apiece by Robertson and junior shortstop Karsen Jehle. Senior pitcher Abbi Patterson struck out four and did not yield an earned run in winning her first game of the year.

It was a sweet beginning to the end of the season.

The Golden Hawks lost their next three games, but only by one run to North Cedar and by two runs to Comanche. Then, they traveled to Tipton, scored the first four runs and smoked the home team.

It was almost as if the season was beginning when, in fact, it would end just two days later in a regional semifinal against Assumption.

“Traditionally, this would be like the halfway point for us,” McArtor said after the game in Tipton.”We would still play every team at least one more time. It’s unfortunate how short everything was. I wish we still had a little bit longer.”

Five seniors played their last game in a 12-0 loss to Assumption in the regional semifinals: Robertson in center field, Patterson as starting pitcher, Kendra Schaefer as the designated hitter, Lanie Bowlin at third base and Georgia Nisly at first base.

But a young group of underclassmen, led by Vercande, junior pitcher Myah Lugar and Jehle, bring hope for a strong season in 2021.

“We did the best that we could to the best of our ability with every game and practices,” McArtor said. “It took us a couple of games probably to just find our groove that we kind of had last year. It took us a little bit to find our bats, but when we did we tried to make it count.”

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