MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
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FORT DODGE — It looked like a blowout early Monday evening at the Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
No. 12 Belle Plaine (23-7) jumped up 5-0 on No. 6 Clarksville (28-2) in its first two at-bats in the quarterfinal round of the Class 1A state tournament, picking up six hits over the first two innings.
Yet Clarksville rallied back, tying the game in the bottom of the second inning. From there, it was a battle through the end, with both teams jumping ahead of the other multiple times. By the end, though, it was the Indians who came out on top, beating Belle Plaine 9-8 and advancing to the semifinals.
“I think they were pretty shooken up the first two innings,” Clarksville Coach Katie Wedeking said. “Once they were calmed down, we got the errors out of the way, we came back ... they got on the bats and did what they had to do.”
Left fielder Makayla Holub said it didn’t take long for the Indians to regroup after falling into the early hole. All it took was a quick pep talk.
“I said, ‘Hey, this is our game. We’re not losing this game,’” Holub said. “I just brought everyone up and I said that anything can happen. We’ve been in these situations before, so we know what to do when we get down. It was great.”
Once the game was tied up 5-5, the two teams couldn’t separate. After the third inning, it was tied 6-6. After the fifth inning, the game was tied 7-7.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning when Clarksville made its move. With two outs, Holub took to the plate and hit a shot right up the middle to score two runners, giving the Indians a two-run lead and enough to hold the Plainsmen off for the win.
“I knew my final hit, I had to come up and make something happen, and my coach always told me that there was no one better,” Holub said. “I had lots of confidence, and I hit the ball right down the middle.”
Clarksville will advance now to play Sigourney — which upset No. 2 Akron-Westfield 7-3 earlier on Monday — in the semifinals on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. So while it wasn’t an easy win — and caused quite a few nerves — both Wedeking and Holub Said they’re very content with where they stand heading into the semifinals.
“I was a little nervous,” Holub said. “But we had to keep our calm, because we have some great defense that can pick that stuff up. We did great.”
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