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Rockets 2nd in longest game in history - Albia Newspapers: Sports

Rockets 2nd in longest game in history

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Posted: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 9:47 am

Taryn Swartz walked to open the Class 2A championship game against Iowa City Regina. She scored on an error. Katie Bracken, Regina’s number five hitter reached base on an error in the second and scored on an error.

That 1-1 score held up through 15 innings of play and it was after 11 p.m. when the next scores occurred. The Rockets scored three runs in the top of the 16th on hits by Brianna VerSteegh and Swartz, an error hit by Randie Richmond and an RBI sacrifice fly hit by Haegen Boyer. Regina scored four in the bottom of the 16th on five hits and an error.

The state’s longest state tournament game was over. Iowa City Regina was champion. For the second time in four years, the Rockets of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont finished as state runner-up.

Two pitchers with two completely different styles locked up in what any number of people are calling one of the greatest games in the storied history of Iowa girls state tournament softball. Eddyville-Blakesburg junior Randie Richmond would pitch 16 innings, giving up 16 hits with three strikeouts and no walks.

Iowa City Regina senior Sarah Lehman would set a record (with an asterisk for strikeouts outside a seven-inning game) with 22 strikeouts, giving up 12 hits to the powerful Rocket offensive lineup.

Lehman’s riserball kept the Rockets off balance all night. She struck out two in the first and second, with two EBF runners on board via walks. Then fanned 12 of the next 15 batters to finish out regulation play. Richmond was just as effective, but not with the strikeout. Her pinpoint accuracy on the corners had Iowa City hitting the ball into the ground and popping it up. Boyer at shortstop was a vacuum, throwing out seven batters in the first seven innings. There were no walks given up by the EBF junior.

Reina Taylor and Swartz were the only Rockets to figure out Lehman in the first seven innings with a single in the first and another in the sixth. Swartz had a walk in the first, a single in the fifth and a triple in the seventh.

Claire Jager got a hit in the eighth. Darian Johnson got a walk in the ninth. Richmond walked and Jager singled in the 10th. Johnson singled in the 11th and Madysen Wade walked. Jager, who had a brilliant offensive game, doubled in the 12th. Swartz reached on an error in the 14th. Jager led off the 15th with a single.

Regina had a chance to end the game in the 12th, but Rocket centerfielder Reina Taylor gunned down Taylor O’Connor with a perfect throw to Jager who made the tag at the plate.

In the top of the 16th, VerSteegh led off with a single, got to second on Swartz’ third hit of the game, stole third and scored on an error hit by Richmond. Swartz scored on a wild pitch and Brooke Shafer (running for Richmond) scored on a deep sacrifice fly by Boyer.

The Rockets needed three outs to become state champions. The seven, eight and nine hitters were up. Maeve Dunne led off with a single and Paisley Gardner singled. Richmond got the number nine hitter to ground out second to first, moving runners to second and third. Leadoff hitter Emily Bonnett singled to score Dunne. Emma Corkery singled to score Gardner. Jess Hunter singled to score Corkery to tie the game at 4-4. And the final score came on an infield error.

All Tournament

Reina Taylor, Claire Jager, Randie Richmond and Taryn Swartz were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Rockets graduate seven seniors including Jager, Briana VerSteegh, Jade Johnson, Teri Lane, Swartz, Patyon Hynick and Haegen Boyer. The team ends the season with a 32-9 record. They will return junior pitcher Richmond, freshman right-fielder Madysen Wade, sophomore second baseman Darian Johnson, sophomore centerfielder Reina Taylor and junior first baseman Lexi Taylor. Reina Taylor was also 12-3 as a pitcher.

© 2017 Albia Newspapers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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