WEST BURLINGTON – Back at the Fun City Turf for the first time since opening last season with three wins in four games at Southeastern's Indoor Tournament, the Indian Hills softball team bounced back from their first loss in 10 games to salvage a regional split against the Blackhawks.
Maddy Findley's three-run home run in the third inning capped a strong start to the second game of an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference twinbill for the 13th-ranked Warriors. Breanna Newton added a solo home run in the sixth inning of a 9-5 win for IHCC over Southeastern, clinching a split after the Blackhawks rallied late to earn an 8-7 win in game one on Wednesday.
Bellis continued her recent power surge in her first at-bat of the day against the Blackhawks, powering a three-run home run over the fence in left to put the Warriors on top 3-0 in the very first inning. It was the fourth home run in the past three games for Bellis, driving in 15 runs over that stretch after bringing home six runs in each of IHCC's wins on Monday over Marshalltown.
After giving up the three-run blast to Bellis in the first, Southeastern starting pitcher Ariana Ramirez would settle in striking out five batters over the first three innings while getting a key double play as Makayla Cam snagged a line drive by Anna Voigt, doubling off Gretta Hartz at first. Ramirez would rally the Blackhawks at the plate with an RBI hit and a run in the third before hammering a two-run homer in the fourth as part of a four-run rally that put Southeastern on top 6-3.
Indian Hills answered back in the fifth, scoring four times to take a 7-6 lead. Gracie Jevyak doubled in Bellis and Chloe Olson before scoring on an error following a double steal to tie the game. Hartz scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center by Voigt to snap the tie.
Southeastern again rallied in the sixth, using three straight hits to take the lead with Aubrey Miller's two-run single putting the Blackhawks on top 8-7. Bellis and Olson opened the seventh inning for the Warriors with consecutive hits, putting the tying run at third with no outs, before Ramirez struck out Jevyak and snagged a line drive hit by Hartz, doubling off Olson at first to end the game and IHCC's nine-game regional winning streak.
Indian Hills responded to the loss by jumping out to a seven-run lead in game two. The Warriors greeted Blackhawk pitcher Keziah Stutzman with three straight hits, including an RBI double by Bellis giving the IHCC sophomore outfielder an ICCAC-best 43 RBIs so far this season.
Indian Hills (18-4, 10-2 ICCAC) hits the road for a four-game regional series at NIACC. Action in Mason City between the Warriors and Trojans gets underway on Friday at 2 p.m.