CUBA CITY — The defending SWAL champion Iowa–Grant softball team sputtered two weeks ago dropping back-to-back games to Southwestern and Mineral Point.
Last week the Panthers got back on track with a 6–1 victory over previously unbeaten Cuba City Thursday, before posting convincing back-to-back victories over Fennimore, 8–1 on Friday and 12–2 Monday afternoon.
With the recent winning streak coach Deanna Fulton’s Panthers improved to 7–3 overall and pulled into a second-place tie with Mineral Point at 6–3 in the SWAL, 21/2 games back of the Cubans (13–1, 9–1 SWAL).
“We’ve always talked about the three aspects of softball, offense, pitching and defense,” said Fulton. “Our offense has been scoring enough runs for us to win games, but our defense has let us down. Last week against Cuba City our defense behind Brea finally came through and that was our best game of the season.”
Stanton (7–3) held the Panthers in check allowing one run on six hits in seven innings. She struck out two and walked two. The Iowa–Grant defense committed just one error behind Stanton and the Panthers used an array of slap hits, bunts, aggressive base running and five Cuban miscues to plate six runs.
Cuba City scored its lone run in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single by Sam Beau.
Iowa–Grant tied the game when Taylor Liddicoat scored from third when Cuba City mishandled Taylor Jackson’s ground ball.
The Panthers added two runs in the fifth to take a 3–1 lead. Back-to-back bunt singles by Shania Sarbacker and Emma Liddicoat and a Cuba City throwing error produced the first run of the inning. Liddicoat caught the Cubans napping and later tagged and scored on a foul ball sac fly to first base.
I–G scored three more in the sixth. Jackson belted an RBI triple to make it 4–1 and scored on Sarbacker’s ensuing slap single. Emma Liddicoat drove in the Panthers’ sixth run with a bunt single.
“I think our confidence is back knowing we can beat a strong team,” said Fulton. “Obviously the conference title is going to be hard to reach since Cuba City still only has one loss, but we will all battling it out in regionals.”
Friday afternoon Iowa–Grant defeated visiting Fennimore 8–1 in a make-up game from April 9.
The Panthers pulled away in the top of the fourth when Jackson hit a three-run triple to make it 4–1. Jackson later scored on a RBI ground out by Sarbacker.
Senior Kylie Moneypenny added a solo homer in the fifth to increase the lead to 6–1.
Iowa–Grant took control of Monday’s rematch with five runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Stanton had an RBI single and Moneypenny had an RBI ground out in the inning. Senior Georgie Faull hit a two-run single to cap the rally and make it 6–0.
The Panthers scored three runs each in the fourth and fifth innings to win the game via the 10-run rule.
Iowa–Grant will host its own tournament on Saturday. The Panthers will then host Riveralde on Tuesday.
Iowa–Grant 6, Cuba City 1
(from Thursday, April 30 @ Cuba City)
Iowa–Grant 000 123 0 — 6 10 1
Cuba City 010 000 0 — 1 6 5
Leading hitters — IG: Shania Sarbacker 3x4, Taylor Jackson 2x4; Emma Liddicoat 2x4, Lauren Winkler 2x4; CC: Chole Pustina 2x3. 2B — IG: Jackson; CC: Myah Trevethan. W — Brea Stanton (5–3, 7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 SO, 2 BB). L — Emily Wiederholt (7 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 6 SO, 1 BB).
Iowa–Grant 8, Fennimore 1
(from Friday, May 1 @ Fennimore)
Iowa–Grant 001 411 1 — 8 10 4
Fennimore 100 000 0 — 1 7 1
Leading hitters — IG: Brea Stanton 3x4, Taylor Liddicoat 2x4; F: Streif 2x3, Kohout 3x3. 2B — IG: Stanton; F: Kohout. HR — IG: Kylie Moneypenny. W — Brea Stanton (6–3, 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 SO, 0 BB). L — Streif (7 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 7 ER, 0 SO, 3 BB).
Iowa–Grant 12, Fennimore 2
(from Monday, May 4 @ Cobb)
Fennimore 000 02 — 2 6 6
Iowa–Grant 105 33 — 12 11 3
Leading hitters — F: Winkers 2x3; IG: Taylor Jackson 2x3, Brea Stanton 2x3, Georgie Faull 2x2. 2B — F: Winkers. W — Brea Stanton (7–3, 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 SO, 1 BB). L — Streif (3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 0 SO, 0 BB).