SIGOURNEY – Kaylee Weber's two-run homer in the very first inning set the tone for a breakout night in the postseason for the seventh-ranked Sigourney Savages.
After scoring just two runs in 17 innings through the first two rounds of regional tournament play, Sigourney never looked back after scoring twice in the very first inning of Monday night's 6-3 win over South Iowa Cedar League rival Belle Plaine. The Savages advanced to the Class 1A state softball tournament for the first time since 2017 and will open play at the Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex next Monday in Fort Dodge.
Sigourney head coach Shelly Streigle was emotional following her team's victory in the 1A, Region 5 championship game.
"My Dad, who was my long time assistant coach, passed away about a year ago," reflected Streigle, "His last words were, 'don't screw it up Shelly."
The Savages struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Following a walk to Carly Goodwin, Weber stepped to the plate and launched a shot that cleared the center field fence for a two run homer.
The home squad added a run in the bottom of the second inning when Courtney Hemsley reached via an error by the Plainsmen third baseman. Raegan Rozenboom's bunt was misplayed as the infield throw got away from the first baseman and Hemsley raced home to plate the run.
The Savage offense wasn't done, as they put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Eighth grader Madi Richard singled to left. Courtney Hemsley followed with a single.
Rozenboom's bunt single brought home Richard. Hemsley would then score on a single by Dani Aller. Ava Fisch singled to load the bases. What looked like it would be sacrifice fly to left by Goodwin, turned into a inning ending double play when the Belle Plaine leftfielder gathered in the medium deep fly ball and rifled a shot to the catcher as she tagged out Rozenboom at the plate.
In the top of the fifth inning, Belle Plaine would snap a 21 consecutive inning scoreless streak in Region 5 play by the Sigourney Savages. Thee errors by the Savages along with a Plainsmen single allowed the visitors to total all of their three runs.
"I think the situation with a state tournament birth on the line may have shaken the defense a little tonight," noted Streigle.
Sigourney would wrap up their scoring in the bottom of the fifth as Weber singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Richard, and scored on an RBI single by Hemsley.
Belle Plaine (17-18) went down quietly in the top of the seventh as the Savages punched their ticket to Fort Dodge. Sigourney (25-8) collected 10 hits on the night, with Weber and Hemsley each having two hits. Carly Goodwin (21-3) was credited with the win. Goodwin recorded five strikeouts and issued three base on balls.