The Albia Lady Dees were on both ends of two 4-3 softball decisions involving ranked teams on Friday as they competed in the Ottumwa Classic Softball Tournament.
The Dees met Class 5A 12th ranked Southeast Polk and by almost every measurement, should have pocketed the victory. But a highly unusual spate of errors cost the Dees the game and an otherwise solid pitching performance by Jena Lawrence.
Lawrence scattered five hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. Her only earned run was a fourth inning home run by clean-up hitter Sydney Potter. That homerun did little damage as the Dees sat on a 3-1 lead.
Albia jumped all over Ram pitcher Lexi Hilzer, scoring two runs in the first inning on RBI doubles by Alex Beard and Lawrence. Kennedy Schroeder and Makenna Ross each had first inning singles.
In the third inning, with the top of the order up again, Schroeder had another hit and scored on an RBI single by Beard.
The biggest problem the Dees had at the plate wasn’t hitting Hilzer. They collected eight hits and added two walks. It was leaving runners stranded. Albia left the bases loaded in one inning and left two on in another. Another hazard was brilliant fielding by Ram outfielders. Albia drilled three sinking liners into the outfield with runners in scoring position and all three were caught for inning-ending outs.
Errors proved costly in the sixth inning as the Rams made use of two errors and picked up a two-run single. All three runs were scored as unearned. Hizler was able to work out of jams in the final two innings to post the win. Albia had five errors in the game while the Rams played perfect defense.
Beard ended the game with three hits including a double and two RBI. Schroeder had two hits including a double and scored twice. Lawrence had an RBI double and Ross and MacKenna Jones had singles.
Against ninth ranked Class 3A Solon, the outcome was better on a 4-3 decision and it was defense that brought home the win. Alex Beard fired two throws to Lawrence at third base to nail Solon runners and cut off rallies. MacKenna Jones the sophomore righthander scattered five hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Two of the three runs scored by Solon were earned.
Solon scored a run in the first but Albia countered with two in the first. Solon tied the game in the fourth, but Albia surged ahead with two in the fifth. Solon added a single run in the sixth.
Schroeder and Beard maintained their hot bats as did Lawrence. Schroeder had two hits including a double and scored a run. Beard had an RBI single and Lawrence had two hits including a double and scored twice. Jones, Ellie Spurgin, Abbie Martin and Rylee Leshen all had hits in a 10-hit Lady Dee attack.
In both games, the Dees got solid defensive play from sophomore Taylee Wolfer playing second base for regular Abbey Griffin, who was playing tournament volleyball over the weekend.
The Dees finish the tournament with a 23-4 record with a game on Monday at home against Twin Cedars (28-7) before opening tournament play on Wednesday at home against Saydel. Saydel is 13-14 on the year. Albia was ranked 5th in the latest poll, jumping from 7th.