E-B-F Claims Heart-Breaking Runner-Up Trophy

The EBF Rockets finished in the Runner-Up position after an epic 16 inning battle. (photo by Lisa Johnson)

by Wade Steinlage

Just three outs away from its first-ever state title, the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rocket softball team was stunned as it was relegated to runner-up in Class 2A last week.

The Rockets (32-8) began state competition Monday with a 7-2 win over #3 seed Waterloo Columbus. The #6 seed then took down #2 seed Interstate 35 2-0, setting up a championship matchup with #5 seed Iowa City Regina. What transpired was the longest game in state tournament history with E-B-F falling 5-4 in 16 innings.

E-B-F 7, Waterloo Columbus 2

The Rockets put the game’s first run on the board in the third, and while it seemed to be enough–especially the way Randie Richmond was pitching–the lower seed put the contest away with six more runs in the seventh.

Taryn Swartz, who finished with two hits and a pair of runs scored, tripled in the third and then scored on a throwing error. On the other side, Richmond was cruising as she sat down 17 of the first 18 batters she faced.

Richmond’s teammates made sure her effort was not wasted as they went off for six additional tallies in their final at-bats. Haegan Boyer and Claire Jager both provided two-run base knocks in the seventh. Waterloo Columbus scored two meaningless runs in the bottom of the seventh.

E-B-F outhit the Sailors 12-5, including three from Jager and two from Swartz, Richmond, and Reina Taylor. Jager, Boyer, and Darian Johnson all drove in two runs, while Taylor stole a pair of bases.

Richmond finished with two strikeouts (no walks).

E-B-F 2, Interstate 35 0

It was all Richmond all the time against the Roadrunners as she kept them off balance at the plate and also delivered both E-B-F runs with a two-run fifth-inning home run. The win sent the Rockets back to the state title game for the first time since 2014 (second time ever).

With the game scoreless after four frames, Richmond provided the only runs as she drove a two-run bomb over the fence, plating Madysen Wade in the process. It was one of just four hits for Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, but Interstate 35 was limited to only three hits as well.

Richmond struck out four (no walks) in the shutout.

Iowa City Regina 5, E-B-F 4

The first two rounds of play could never have prepared E-B-F for what was to come in the title game. Both sides scored early and then the pitchers took over, throwing 13 straight scoreless frames (14 straight for ICR).

In a game that lasted three hours and 24 minutes and included 28 hits, both Richmond and her pitching counterpart Sarah Lehman battled the entire way. Richmond’s final line included four strikeouts and one walk.

She was set to be the winning pitcher, lifting her school to its first softball state title, but the Regals found a way in the bottom of the 16th to not only tie the game, but win it with four runs.

Swartz scored the first run as she led off the contest with a walk. She was then moved to second on a Richmond bunt attempt and eventually scored on a throwing error on the same play.

Iowa City Regina answered in the bottom of the second, and despite numerous scoring chances for both teams, the game remained tied after 15 frames.

Swartz put the Rockets on top in the top of the 16th with a single that plated Briana Ver Steegh. Swartz then scored on a wild pitch and Brooke Shafer came around on a sac fly by Boyer to make it 4-1.

Unfortunately, the Rockets’ fairy-tale ending did not come true as the Regals put four across in the bottom half to snatch the crown.

Swartz and Jager both produced four hits, while Taylor added a pair.

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Posted by on Jul 23 2017. Filed under Local News, School Activities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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