Coach Huston elected to get some of his younger players — such as Mallary Simmer and Sarah Wetrich — some state experience in the game. Moore started the game on hill for the Bulldogs.
Ottumwa jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Winn drove in Garrett with a bloop single. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ lead proved to be fleeting. The Hawkettes’ offense came out hot in the bottom of the fourth, as they ripped off five runs on four hits and a walk to go up 5-1. Ankeny added to its lead with runs in the top of the second and the top of the fourth to make it 7-1 Hawkettes.
Peyton singled home Sammons in the top of the fifth to narrow the gap to 7-2. Ottumwa showed signs it was going to mount a rally in the seventh. Winn led off the inning by blasting a single over the head of Hawkette centerfielder Cathlin Bingham. Two batters later, Sarah Wetrich kept the momentum going with a bloop single. Moments later, Sydney Strunk lined a single to centerfield that drove in Ashlyn Thompson, who was pinch running for Winn, to shave the Hawkettes’ lead to 7-3. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were not able to muster any more offense, and Ankeny picked up the victory.
Emotions flowed freely after the game as the nine seniors bid each other — and their younger teammates — adieu.
“I’ve grown up and played with them for so many years, and it’s a hard deal to have to leave them all,” Peyton said. “We’re so comfortable around each other. We fit together and play well.”
After the girls shed tears, shared hugs and engaged in their last team chants, the seniors trapped Huston in a group hug.
“I won’t have another coach like him,” Sydney Strunk said in a choked-up voice.