COLFAX — Colfax-Mingo’s softball team doesn’t have a single senior on its roster. And the young Tigerhawks are still developing on the diamond.
The next step for Colfax-Mingo involves adjusting to faster speeds coming from inside the circle.
The Tigerhawks were held to only two hits in a 2-0 loss to Class 2A No. 12 East Marshall during 2A Region 4 quarterfinal action on July 15.
Colfax-Mingo had only one hit five days earlier in a loss to North Mahaska.
“It looks like speed right now is a nemesis for us. It looks like we just aren’t making adjustments to faster pitching,” C-M head coach Bryan Poulter said. “The last two pitchers we have faced threw hard.”
East Marshall senior Kodie Hoskey pitched the Mustangs to the state tournament last season and was at her best against C-M.
Hoskey (14-2) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning and struck out 14 Tigerhawks while walking two.
“I want to give her credit. She has a lot of experience,” Poulter said. “And she had 141 strikeouts coming into the game. We knew she was capable of that. She has good command and she can get behind in the count and come back.”
Hoskey fell behind a lot against Colfax-Mingo but came back to get several strikeouts. Her first two strikeouts came on 3-2 counts and she had six with that count in all.
Of the 14 strikeouts, 10 were with the count sitting at 2-2 or 3-2.
“On our end, the emphasis this week was to focus and adjust at the plate when necessary,” Poulter said. “We have talked and talked about it, but we are young and haven’t yet been able to figure it out.”
Kylie Doty reached on errors in the first and sixth innings but was stranded both times.
Hoskey fanned the side in the second and third innings. Caylee Cunningham got the first hit for the Tigerhawks (12-6) with one out in the fourth. She stole second but was stranded there.
The Tigerhawks’ best chance to score came in the fifth. Mariah Webster drew a lead-off walk and went to second and third on back-to-back groundouts.
Danica Linn walked with two outs and took second on a catcher’s indifference.
With runners on second and third, Hoskey got out of the jam with a ground ball to third.
Carley Underwood singled with one out in the seventh, but Hoskey ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts.
“A lot of the girls were taking the same kind of cut with two strikes that they were taking with no strikes,” Poulter said. “Not to blame our conference, but we need to see more pitching like this and less like a lot of the teams we play in the conference.”
East Marshall (14-2) only cranked out four hits against Doty. The two biggest hits of the game came with two outs and were both bloopers to holes in left and left-center field.
Doty was perfect through two innings. Her third walk of the season went to Callyn Curphy to open the third inning. A sacrifice bunt moved Curphy to second but a ground out to Underwood at shortstop put two outs in the books.
Reagan McIlrath made it 1-0 with an RBI single and took second on the throw to home. The ball from Cunningham in center field arrived to C-M catcher Joslyn Chadwick as Curphy began her slide, but Curphy was called safe at the plate.
McIlrath then scored on Emma Pfantz’s RBI bloop single to left.
“They weren’t hard hits. They were placed between the infield and outfield,” Poulter said. “We needed to come back after that inning and put the ball in play and make something happen. But we had too many strikeouts and not enough balls in play.”
Doty (9-6) got out of two-on, one-out situations in the fourth and sixth innings and retired the Mustangs in order in the fifth and seventh.
Unfortunately, Colfax-Mingo couldn’t get the clutch hits it needed to rally.
“Kylie threw great. She moved the ball around and gave us a chance,” Poulter said. “Our defense played well, too.”
Doty took the loss in the circle, allowing two earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
East Marshall advanced to the regional finals with a 2-1 win over Pella Christian on July 17.