Small College Sports

Maddy Ryan pitches in to help Coe softball sweep Cornell

Junior earned both wins and game-winning RBIs

Coe pitcher Maddy Ryan releases a pitch during the top of the fourth inning of their college softball game against the Cornell College Rams at Busse Field at the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex at Mount Mercy University in northeast, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Coe College won the first game 4-0. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Coe pitcher Maddy Ryan releases a pitch during the top of the fourth inning of their college softball game against the Cornell College Rams at Busse Field at the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex at Mount Mercy University in northeast, Iowa, on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Coe College won the first game 4-0. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Whether it is the pitching circle or the batter’s box, Maddy Ryan is willing to step in either and contribute for her Coe softball teammates.

She doesn’t have a preference as long as it benefits the Kohawks.

“I just do whatever my team needs at the time,” Ryan said. “It doesn’t really matter. I just try to do whatever they need and help in any way I can.”

The versatile junior delivered in both roles Wednesday, earning wins and driving in game-winning runs in both games of a doubleheader sweep of rival Cornell at Mount Mercy’s Busse Field.

Ryan tossed a three-hit shutout and knocked in the first run of a 4-0 victory in the opener. In the nightcap, she threw two shutout innings of relief and smacked a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh for a 7-6 win.

“My team was here for me all day,” Ryan said. “They were great.

“People around me got hits, because even when I wasn’t hitting the ball at the beginning my team was coming through. They kept me in that game with their plays, too.”

Cornell (10-8) threatened for a split, rallying with four in the fifth, getting an RBI single from Melissa Orton, who scored to tie it, 4-4. In the top of the sixth, the Rams took a two-run lead on RBI doubles by Stephanie Xavier and Jana Froehle.

Coe answered with a Megan Weber solo home run before Ryan singled and scored on an error to tie it, setting up the last-inning heroics.

“A lot of upperclassmen who are coming through in the clutch,” Meyer said. “A freshman got us on the board in the sixth. We scrapped together another run that inning. It was just a great team effort.”

Haley Jones and Madi Miller reached and advanced to scoring position when Ryan stepped in with two outs. After a late strike call turned a walk into a full count, Ryan ripped a line drive to left field to end it.

“I’m actually glad he called it now,” Ryan said with a laugh. “I was just glad I got another chance. I knew even if we had to go another inning that we would try our best and we still had the game.”

The effort allowed her to collect both wins, improving to 5-1 this season. She didn’t allow a runner beyond second and retired the final nine batters of the first game.

With Alyssa Olson battling injury, Ryan is leading the way and one of three pitchers to work the nightcap.

“We’re pitching by committee, right now,” Meyer said. “We have four kids and I’m not afraid to throw any of them out there right now.”

In the opener, the Kohawks scored all their runs with two outs in the fourth. Ryan dropped a ball into right field for a double, chasing home O’Brien. The Kohawks rattled four straight hits off Rams starter Haley Harmon, including a two-run home run by Marisa Repp and a solo shot from Jones in consecutive at-bats.

Coe (10-8) is above .500 for the first time since winning the season opener. The Kohawks are starting to return key pieces to their lineup, including Jones and Miller.

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Jones went 3-for-3 in the opener, finishing with four hits and reaching base in six of her seven plate appearances. She has played in just three games, missing 35 days due to injury. Miller hadn’t played since the team’s trip to Arizona. Miller reached base three times in the second game, hitting an RBI double in the third.

“Having two juniors back was really important for us,” Meyer said. “Just having them on the field, their experience, bringing some calmness to the defense and just getting it done offensively helped us a lot.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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