Connor Swim, Announcer
The Montezuma Bravettes unfortunately had a rough run in the State Tournament. As their time in Fort Dodge comes to a close, they leave 0-3 after being run ruled in their first two games. Monte also had the misfortune of running up against a seemingly unstoppable Kee High team that is the overwhelming favorite to win the 1A title in convincing fashion. After suffering such tough losses in their first two rounds of play, Monte looked to end their trip to Rogers Sport Complex with a positive result. They faced a conference foe in Belle Plaine for the 7th place trophy.
Both Monte and Belle Plaine are similar teams with similar goals heading into their final game. A bright spot for both teams is their youth, with only one senior between the two teams. Both teams are also new to State Tournament play, with 2017 being Montezuma’s first ever trip and Belle Plaine’s second appearance. So while at first glance the 7th Place Game does not mean much, in the big picture both teams looked to gain valuable experience at the State tournament and find a least a taste of success to help set them up to make a real run in next year’s tournament.
The game began in a way that made Monte fans think, ” Not again.” Early fielding errors by the Bravettes allowed Belle Plaine to take a quick 2-0 lead. It looked like the Bravettes would find themselves in trouble again, but immediately in the Monte half of the first inning freshman Maddy McKeag cut the lead in half after reaching third on defensive errors and scoring on a SAC ground-out by teammate Shelby Helms.
After the first inning, both pitchers and their defenses settled in. Both sides allowed base runners but held stout and allowed no more runs until Shelby Helms hit another RBI, this time on a single. Then, in the 6th inning, Monte’s Olivia Moretz laced a triple down the right field line, and scored one batter later on an error. The stage was set for Monte to find their first win, but it was not meant to be.
In the 7th, Belle Plaine’s Shaylee Dodd was able to draw a one out walk. From there the Plainesmen were able to small ball their way to a tie ball game, with a SAC from Ashton Bohlen and RBI double from Grace Perrott. Then Belle Plaine’s pitcher Katie Cubbage struck out two in a one-two-three bottom of the seventh. Both teams entered extra innings playing international tiebreaker rules, which meant both teams start their half of the inning with a runner on second. In the top of the eighth, Belle Plaine capitalized on their free base runner scoring immediately with a deep hit from Katy Ward that was dropped in right field. The Plainemen then took care of business in the bottom of the eighth in four batters to secure their 7th place trophy and the win.
Even with an 0-3 result in the State Tournament, the fight Monte put up in the final game is something they can be proud of. The girls finally had some success and a chance to win the game late, and even though they did not win, they can hold their heads high for making state for the first time in Montezuma history. You can expect the Bravettes to come out even stronger next season, a year older and with loftier goals now that they have had a taste of Fort Dodge.