Now it’s time for North Scott’s softball team to hold its collective breath.
After sweeping MAC rival Davenport North on Monday, the Lancers improved their season mark to 18-8 and now must wait to see if they’ve done enough work to earn a No. 1 seed in Class 4A regional action.
The Lancers were sitting at the precarious No. 8 spot in last week’s rankings, and with the top eight teams across the state being assured of first-round byes and home field advantage, they’ll most certainly be on pins and needles until the postseason pairings and assignments are released on Friday.
“I’m excited about who we’ve been playing, and the pairing that we might get,” said Lancer coach Holly Hoelting. “I think our girls are improving every day, so I think it’s a really exciting time to get those pairings and see who we might be playing.
“It would be great to play at home, because when you travel it adds a whole different element. Even if we don’t play at home, the girls never worry too much, but there’s no doubt home field advantage would really help us.”
To be certain, North Scott has made a strong case for itself, as six of its eight losses have come at the hands of Class 5A teams, while their two other setbacks were to state-ranked opponents, including top-ranked (Class 2A) Durant and No. 10 (Class 4A) Western Dubuque.
The million-dollar question is whether or not the Lancers season-long résumé will hold up until the next state rankings — which are used to determine the top 8 seeds — are released on Thursday.
North Scott won three of four games since last week’s rankings — splitting with Davenport West and sweeping North — so theoretically, they should stand pat.
Ninth-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier won two of three, while No. 10 Western Dubuque, which owns a 9-4 win over the Lancers back in May, won five of six.
No. 11 Norwalk dropped four of five, and even though No. 12 Lewis Central picked up five straight wins, it’s hard to imagine the Titans would leapfrog four other teams.
And there’s even a slim chance the Lancers could move up a notch, after No. 5 Winterset fell to 19-7 with losses to 5A powers Cedar Rapids Kennedy (No. 1) and No. 10 Fort Dodge. So really, it’s anybody’s guess as to how things will shake out.
Further muddying the waters is the fact that North Scott will host Western Dubuque on Thursday, but the rankings should be released before the two teams take the field.
After entertaining Western Dubuque on Thursday, the Lancers will head to Ames for the Pinch Hitters Classic over the weekend. They are scheduled to take on Sioux City East (noon) and Ames (3:30) on Friday, and will face West Delaware (9:30 a.m.) and No. 15 (Class 4A) Glenwood (3 p.m.) on Saturday.
North Scott will host No. 14 (Class 5A) Burlington on Monday.
Lancers sweep North
Riding strong pitching performances from a trio of hurlers, North Scott took care of business Monday night with a 16-3, 5-0 sweep of Davenport North in Mississippi Athletic Conference action.
Senior Kendal Newman and sophomore Drew Lewis combined to toss a four-hitter in the opener, while the Lancers banged out 17 hits and used a big 10-run third inning to cruise to a four-inning win.
Sophomore Rachel Anderson and senior Shelby Schmidt each ripped three hits to lead the offensive onslaught, while sophomore Brooke Kilburg, freshman Ryann Cheek, Lewis and senior Delaney Kilburg each had two hits.
Cheek took the mound in the nightcap and scattered five hits while fanning six, but the Lancer offense didn’t get rolling until the top of the seventh when they posted all their runs.
Cheek started the uprising with a leadoff single, and freshman Taylor Robertson sacrificed her to second. Kylee Ewoldt reached on an error to load the bases, and junior Brooke Corson put the Lancers on top with an RBI single.
Delaney Kilburg’s double plated two more runs, and the final two runs scored on a Wildcat error and Schmidt’s base rap.
Corson and Delaney Kilburg each had a pair of hits.
“I think we played well,” said Hoelting. “We are playing a little bit more loose. Going into the seventh inning tied, I think it could’ve been a different outcome if we had panicked a little bit. But we stayed relaxed and did what we had to do. We got the job done.”
Lancers split with Falcons
From all indications it appears that North Scott and Davenport West are a pair of evenly matched teams, as a Thursday night split left both teams with identical 6-6 Mississippi Athletic Conference marks.
The Falcons broke open a tight game in the opener, scoring eight runs in the final three innings, to take an 11-3 win, while North Scott, behind the pitching of junior Ashlynn Shannon, claimed a 5-2 win in the nightcap.
After scoring a pair of first-inning runs off Falcon ace Erica Ralfs, without getting a hit, the Lancers couldn’t get anything going off Kaylie Caldwell. Caldwell scattered four hits and fanned five, while Falcon hitters roughed up Lancer hurlers Ryann Cheek and Drew Lewis with an 11-hit onslaught.
For as much as Cheek and Lewis struggled, Shannon was on top of her game as she held the Falcons to six hits, while also fanning six
After the Falcons took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, the Lancers erupted for five runs in their half of the inning on a pair of walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball, singles by Rachel Anderson, Cheek and senior Delaney Kilburg, and senior Shelby Schmidt’s three-run homer.