CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Titans and Sioux Falls Storm have met in the conference title game in each of the past four seasons.
If the Titans have any hope to make it five, they will need to dig out of an ever-increasing hole.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Without a doubt, it was the most timely hit of the season for Cedar Rapids Kennedy. And perhaps Tianna Drahn’s finest hour.
Drahn rapped a two-out, two-run single to right field in the top of the fifth inning. That beat a downpour by about 10 minutes and ultimately toppled Cedar Rapids Washington, 2-0, in a rain-shortened Class 5A softball regional semifinal Saturday night at Washington-Franklin Field.
“I just did what I needed to do for the team,” said Drahn, a sophomore outfielder. “I saw the ball go in and out of (rightfielder Dana Riley’s) glove. I thought it was going to be the third out of the inning.”
Instead, it proved to be a game-winner. After the Cougars (27-13) retired Washington (22-17) in the bottom of the fifth, the deluge began.
A few minutes later, the game was called. Softball games are ruled complete after five innings, and this one qualified.
Kennedy will face No. 3 Southeast Polk in a regional final at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pleasant Hill. The Rams (27-9) blanked Des Moines East, 4-0, Saturday.
The Cougars, who defeated Washington for the fourth time this season, were 13-25 last year.
“It’s a big turnaround,” Drahn said. “I’m so proud of this team.”
After the downpour eased into a mere shower, Washington Coach Erin Jones summoned her staff and players in a scramble to make the field playable. Problem was, the game had been called and the nearly everybody — including the umpires and most of the Cougars — had left the facility.
“(The umpires) didn’t give us an opportunity to get the field playable,” said Jones, after discarding a rake. “We know how this field drains. It’s brand new. There’s no way this game should have been called.”
Cougars Coach Dan Gratz said, “I hate to win a game this way. I would hate to lose it this way, too.”
Kennedy pinch-hitter Megan Weber started the winning rally with a one-out walk, then stole second base.
Katelyn Dye followed with an infield single and hustled to second when no play was made on her.
After Andrea McEachran popped out for the second out, Drahn poked a liner in shallow right field.
Riley gave valiant chase, but the ball deflected off her glove, shin-high.
Washington got a pair of runners on with two outs in the bottom half, but after Jessi Puk’s groundout to third, the skies opened.
Kennedy pitcher Jenna Schwartzhoff pitched a one-hitter, yielding just a leadoff single to Caiti Peterson in the bottom of the third.
C.R. KENNEDY 2, C.R. WASHINGTON 0 (Class 5A Regional Semifinal)
C.R. Kennedy 000 02 — 2 4 2
C.R. Washington 000 00 — 0 1 0
Jenna Schwartzhoff and Peyton Baskerville. Payton Bruner and Jessi Puk. W — Schwartzhoff (14-9). L — Bruner (10-10).
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