COLFAX — Colbee Cunningham struck out 11 in the circle and blasted her seventh home run at the plate, Kylie Doty reached base four times and Colfax-Mingo’s softball team advanced in the Class 2A playoffs with a 12-2, six-inning win over Nodaway Valley on Wednesday night.
The Tigerhawks tallied 11 hits in the regional quarterfinal win. The semifinals will be against 2A No. 5 East Marshall at 7 p.m. on Friday in Le Grand.
“It was nice to respond in the bottom of the first inning after they scored in the top half,” Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter said. “That set a good tone offensively for us. We knew we could have good at-bats. We squared a lot of balls up.”
Nodaway Valley (11-17) scored first in the top of the first, but Colfax-Mingo (22-7) responded in the bottom half with three runs.
Doty singled, went to second on a wild pitch and then scored on Cunningham’s RBI single. Rilee Slycord plated Cunningham on an RBI double and then Chelsea Russell’s sacrifice fly to center field made it 3-0.
Doty was 2-for-2 with two walks and four runs, Cunningham had three hits, three runs and three RBIs, Slycord had one hit, two walks, two run and one RBI and Russell finished with three RBIs.
The Tigerhawks went down in order in the second but plated five runs in the third. They sent all nine batters to the plate and the big hits were a two-run double by Delaney Underwood and a two-run single by Caylee Cunningham.
In the fourth, Doty walked in front of Colbee Cunningham’s seventh home run of the season.
“Off the bat, I knew it was gone,” Colbee Cunningham said. “It felt good. I am just happy we won the game.”
Poulter added, “the last two or three weeks, she’s be squaring the ball up nicely and not chasing pitches. She is waiting for ones she can drive. Her bat speed has been very high and has been an offensive force. She goes well with Rilee and Braedynn in that sequence.”
The Wolverines scored their second run of the game in the fifth. But Colfax-Mingo ended the game in the bottom of the sixth. Doty opened the frame with a single, Colbee Cunningham followed with an infleld single and then Braedynn Rawlins smashed a one-out RBI single.
Russell ended the game with a walk-off RBI single to left field. Rawlins finished with two hits and she also was hit by a pitch.
“I think as a team we’ve being hitting it better,” Cunningham said. “For me, it’s just see ball, hit ball.”
Colbee Cunningham didn’t need much support in the circle as she allowed two runs on seven hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks. The Tigerhawk defense committed one error.
“We had a few defensive issues, but we recovered from it,” Poulter said. “They didn’t hit many balls to the outfield.”
East Marshall (29-4) has won 16 straight games. It has six shutouts during that span. Poulter and Cunningham agree that defense will be the key to Friday’s regional semifinal.
“It’s going to take a very good game of pitching and a very good game of defense,” Poulter said. “Offensively, we can play with them. Our defense is going to have to show up.
“They have a nice blend of talent. We’ll need a big day of pitching from Colbee and the defense needs to respond behind her.”