Iowa City West falls short of state softball with loss to Davenport West

First-inning grand slam sets the tone for Falcons

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IOWA CITY — Iowa City West’s wait to return to the state softball tournament got one year longer Tuesday with a 5-3 loss to Davenport West in the Class 5A Region 5 final.

It took only four batters for Davenport West to take control of the game.

Two bunt singles and one traditional single loaded the bases for Lexy Monty in the top of the first, and it appeared the Falcons were going to score with small ball. Monty instead launched a grand slam to center field and gave the Falcons a 4-0 lead that would hold for the duration of the game.

“We just didn’t play a couple of bunts well, and that’s usually not been a problem for us,” Iowa City West head coach Justin Lutjen said. “That’s what it came down to. We just didn’t play a couple bunts well, and Monty put a good swing on one.”

The Women of Troy answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. They chased Falcon starter Erica Ralfs after just 2/3 of an inning. The Falcons sent Monty to the mound and Ralfs to left field.

Lutjen credited his team for the way they responded to the grand slam, but they struggled to score the rest of the evening as Monty shut Iowa City West down the rest of the game. No batter reached third after the first inning while Monty struck out six in 6 1/3 innings of relief.

“It was just perfect,” Monty said. As for the fly ball turned grand slam, “I didn’t think it was out. I was just trying to score one run.”

The Women of Troy, aside from a solo home run by Rachel Stwerart in the fifth inning, shut down the Falcons. Jessie Harder pitched a complete game in the loss, but the game belonged to Monty.

Monty struck out eighth-grader Brylee Klosterman on a called strike three to end the game, and while Klosterman hit the ground overcome with emotion, the Falcons swarmed out of their dugout toward the circle.

“She grew up a lot tonight. In seven innings, she probably grew up more than she has her whole life,” Davenport West head coach Steve Saladino said. “(Iowa City West) is a hell of a team. It just worked out for us.”

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