COLFAX — Colfax-Mingo senior Rhiannon Haley is winding down a brilliant career on the softball diamond. She knows what a state-tournament team looks like, and feels like her final Tigerhawk team could make another deep run in the postseason.
Haley tallied a pair of hits and two RBIs in the Tigerhawks’ 9-5 victory over North Mahaska on June 26. It was the beginning of a 2-0 evening as Colfax-Mingo also downed HLV 2-1 in its South Iowa Cedar League doubleheader.
“I think we are playing better than we were at the start of the season,” Haley said. “We are in a good spot. If we play defense, I think we can go deep again.”
Three teams played on Colfax-Mingo’s field in an attempt to make up conference games from earlier this season.
Between the Tigerhawks’ two wins, North Mahaska and HLV finished a suspended game. The Warhawks defeated HLV 2-0.
“It’s tough on all of us. It’s tough on the coaches because we don’t always know what to expect,” Colfax-Mingo softball coach Bryan Poulter said about the recent rainy weather. “It’s tough to make the girls have to adjust to playing two games in one day and having a game between us.”
The weather cooperated enough to complete the games Tuesday. There was a bit of rain after C-M’s win over North Mahaska, but the skies cleared up before the second game began. And held off the rest of the night.
In the opener, Colfax-Mingo (18-14 overall, 12-4 in the SICL) broke a 1-all tie with a five-run second inning. The Tigerhawks sent 11 batters to the plate and scored five runs off just one hit.
North Mahaska starting pitcher Emma Deucore was chased in the second inning after recording only one out. C-M junior Braedynn Rawlins began the inning with a single, but then Deucore hit consecutive batters and walked three more in the inning.
Senior Ries Wilson walked with the bases loaded to bring in the first run then an error brought home two more runs. A second North Mahaska (19-8, 11-5) error plated Wilson and then walked with the bases loaded to bring in the fifth run.
The Tigerhawks extended their lead to 7-1 with another run in the fourth. This time, Haley singled and scored on an RBI double by junior Colbee Cunningham.
The final two runs came in the fifth. With two outs, Wilson walked and then eighth-grader Kylie Doty singled. Haley’s two-run double brought both runners around to score.
“I feel like I have been slumping lately,” Haley said. “The two hits today will boost my confidence.”
The top of the order was again solid for Colfax-Mingo. Wilson had two walks, two runs and an RBI from her lead-off spot and Doty had two hits, three runs and a walk from the No. 2 hole. Cunningham doubled, had one RBI and walked once from the clean-up position.
Haley produced two hits, two RBIs and one run from the No. 3 hole.
“It will be important that the top of the order continues to produce as we get into the postseason,” Poulter said. “We will lean on those girls. We need production from everywhere, but the top of the lineup is where our seniors are. We expect those players to be productive. It was a good sign for us today.”
Cunningham earned another win in the circle despite some early struggles. She walked the first two batters she faced in the first inning and one of them scored.
She pitched around back-to-back one-out hit by pitches in the second inning. Cunningham ended the frame with consecutive strikeouts and finished with 11 strikeouts on the night.
North Mahaska plated its second run in the fifth after three consecutive batters reached against Cunningham.
“It looked like she was off a little early,” Poulter said. “But she worked through it, made the adjustment she needed to make, and the defense played well behind her.”
Cunningham is making strides when it comes to believing she can pitch every day. If Colfax-Mingo wants to return to the state tournament, Cunningham has to be in the circle.
“We point blank told her that we will go with her,” Poulter said. “We need her to throw as much as possible. She will take us where we need to go. If we play a 14-inning tournament game, she’ll pitch 14 innings.
“I have seen nice growth from that. She is seeing that she is a strong, athletic girl. She can come back the next day and still pitch well. There may be some fatigue the next day, but she’s making the adjustments to compensate for that.”
North Mahaska scored three runs off Cunningham in the seventh. The first two Warhawks reach but neither batter got a hit. A two-run single by sophomore Paige Layman made it 9-4 and then sophomore Maci DeJong closed the gap a little further with an RBI groundout.
Cunningham retired North Mahaska’s lead-off hitter, Zoe Deucore, on a ground out to end the game.
Cunningham improved to 13-6 after allowing five runs — two earned — on seven hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts. She hit two batters.
“We’ll need her to battle for us,” Haley said of Cunningham. “She’s so much better and throws so much harder than last year. She hits her spots and does a great job.”
Colfax-Mingo 2, HLV 1
COLFAX — Colfax-Mingo completed its busy night on its home softball field with a win over HLV during South Iowa Cedar League action on June 26.
The Tigerhawks defeated North Mahaska, 9-5, earlier in the night and completed the conference sweep when it downed HLV, 2-1.
Colfax-Mingo scored both of its runs in the first inning, and then Cunningham did the rest in the circle. She allowed one run on seven hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
The Tigerhawks started the bottom of the first inning with singles by Wilson, Haley and Cunningham. Cunningham’s RBI hit drove in Doty, who reached base on a fielder’s choice.
The lead grew to 2-0 after an RBI groundout by freshman Madison Gilkison.
That’s all the Tigerhawks would score, but it was enough as Cunningham’s season strikeout total improved to 142. She had one 1-2-3 inning against HLV (5-13, 5-11).
Emma Cheney got HLV on the board in the fifth when she picked up an RBI off a sacrifice fly to left field. Cheney took the loss in the circle for the Warriors after allowing two runs on nine hits.
The Tigerhawks had nine hits in the game. Rawlins singles in the second inning but was left stranded.
In the third, Doty doubled but was retired at second base on a double play after Haley hit a line drive to shortstop. Cunningham then singled, but freshman courtesy runner Chelsey Temple was thrown out at home after Gilkison’s double.
Colfax-Mingo was retired in order in the fourth and fifth innings. Wilson doubled but was thrown out trying for a triple in the fifth. Haley singled to lead off the seventh but was stranded.
Colfax-Mingo 7, Lynnville-Sully 3
SULLY — Cunningham struck out 10 in the circle, Doty blasted her first career varsity home run and Colfax-Mingo knocked off Class 1A No. 12 Lynnville-Sully, 7-3, on June 27 during SICL play.
The win for the Tigerhawks completed the season sweep of Lynnville-Sully and ruined the Hawks’ chances of winning an SICL title.
The loss snapped the Hawks’ four-game winning streak. They came into the night winners of nine of their last 10.
Colfax-Mingo won its third straight. The Tigerhawks have won four of their last five games.
Cunningham allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Doty was 3-for-4 on the night with three runs. Her solo home run led off the seventh inning.
The Tigerhawks plated three runs in the their first at-bat. Wilson, Doty, Haley and Cunningham had consecutive singles. Cunningham’s hit scored Wilson and then an RBI bases-loaded walk by Gilkison brought in Doty. An RBI groundout by junior Chelsea Russell gave the visitors a 3-0 lead after one frame.
Lynnville-Sully answered back with a run in the bottom of the first. Sophomore Mallory Loftus singled to open the inning and then took second on an error. Cunningham struck out the side, but Loftus stole third and sprinted home on a C-M throwing error.
Neither team scored again until C-M brought home three runs in the fifth.
Doty singled and Haley walked with one out. Doty scored on Cunningham’s RBI double. The other two runners — Haley and courtesy runner Mariah Webster — came home on a two-RBI ground out by Gilkison.
The Hawks closed the gap in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t complete the deal.
Freshman Korinne Jansen led off the seventh with a single. With two outs, sophomore Janelle Rozendaal drove in Jansen with an RBI single. Freshman Megan Van Zante followed with an RBI hit and freshman Elizabeth Squires walked.
Cunningham ended the game when she got Loftus to pop out to Gilkison at third base.
Loftus finished with two hits to lead the Hawks. She scored a run, stole a base and is now hitting a team-best .455 on the season.
Wilson and Cunningham each had two hits for C-M. Wilson scored one run and improved her batting average to .410. Cunningham added two RBIs and Haley scored twice and walked once.
Freshman Denali Conover took the loss in the circle for L-S. She allowed four earned runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk in five innings.
Sigourney finished as the SICL champions for the second straight season. The Savages ended 14-2 in league, while Belle Plaine was second at 13-3. Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully both finished 12-4 in third and North Mahaska was fifth at 11-5.
Colfax-Mingo 21, Colo-NESCO 11
COLFAX — A season-high in runs and hits produced a 21-11 win over Colo-NESCO for Colfax-Mingo on June 28.
Wilson and Rawlins both homered, the Tigerhawks pounded out 23 hits and Doty claimed her first varsity win on the night.
Colfax-Mingo scored four runs in the first and four more in the fourth to go up 8-0. Colo-NESCO scored its 11 runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but the Tigerhawks countered with six runs in the fifth and seven runs in the sixth.
Rawlins’ second homer of the season ended the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Doty (1-2) earned the win in the circle after allowing 11 runs — nine earned — on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks. The Royals (11-13) had nine hits and Mackenna Ruffcorn hit a grand slam in their five-run fifth inning.
Doty drew a one-out walk in the first inning to start the Tigerhawk threat. Haley followed with a two-out single and then Doty scored on an RBI double by Gilkison.
Russell and Rawlins drew back-to-back walks and Rawlins’ base-on-balls brought home Haley. A two-run single by junior Delaney Underwood scored Gilkison and Russell to make it 4-0.
In the four-run fourth inning, Wilson, Doty and Haley loaded the bases with consecutive one-out singles. Cunningham made it four straight singles and it was a two-run hit.
The final two runs came on Gilkison’s two-run single.
The first six batters in the sixth reached base for the Tigerhawks. Underwood, Webster and Wilson all singled to load the bases. Doty plated all three runners on a three-run double and then Doty scored on Haley’s RBI single. Haley eventually scored on an error.
Russell’s sacrifice fly plated Cunningham for the team’s final run of the frame. Cunningham reached base on a single.
The Tigerhawks ended the game with a seven-run sixth inning. And only one batter was retired.
Webster opened the frame with a single and then Wilson blasted a two-run home run. It was the third home run this season for Wilson and the first home run of her career that came with a runner on base.
Doty walked and Haley and Cunningham both singled to load the bases again. Gilkison’s RBI single made it 19-11 and then Rawlins ended the game with a two-run blast to left field.
The Tigerhawks won the game despite committing five errors.
Haley was 4-for-5 with four runs and an RBI, Wilson was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs and Gilkison, Cunningham, Rawlins and Underwood all had three hits.
Gilkison finished with five RBIs and two runs, Cunningham scored three times and had two RBIs, Rawlins drove in three runs and Underwood had a pair of RBIs. Doty was 2-for-2 with three walks, four runs and three RBIs.
Class 3A No. 4 EBF 2, Colfax-Mingo 0
EDDYVILLE — There were three total hits in Colfax-Mingo’s softball game against Class 3A No. 4 Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on June 29.
The Tigerhawks had two of them, but the defending 2A runner-up Rockets came away with a 2-0 home victory.
EBF scored the game’s only runs off its only hit and a C-M error in the sixth inning. Colfax-Mingo committed two errors in the loss.
Wilson and Cunningham had the Tigerhawks’ only hits. EBF had one error.
Cunningham took the loss in the circle. She allowed two runs — one earned — on one hit with seven strikeouts and five walks.
Wilson got her hit in the first inning when she led off the game with a single to the shortstop. The Rockets reached on an error in the bottom of the first, but that runner also was stranded.
The next base runner in the game came in the third inning when EBF’s Cheyenne Barnett walked. Randie Richmond also walked in the fourth but was thrown out trying to steal second.
EBF (28-7) drew back-to-back walks in the fifth, but Cunningham got out of the jam with a strikeout.
In the sixth inning, Madysen Wade led off the frame with a walk. She advanced to second on a fielder’s choice and then scored when Darian Johnson’s RBI single. Johnson later scored the team’s second run on an error.
The Tigerhawk offense was retired in order in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Cunningham’s single came in the seventh but EBF pitcher Reina Taylor retired her when she induced a ground ball double play.
Colfax-Mingo (18-14) opened 2A regional postseason play against Interstate 35 (14-9) on July 3. Both programs played in the state tournament last year.