Jefferson outlasted by Urbandale in 10 innings, denied state softball berth

Streak of three straight state tournaments ends

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URBANDALE — It’s probably fitting an all-J-Hawks regional final went into extra innings.

The similarity in name was nearly matched by how the action unfolded on the field. Each team was daring the other to blink first.

No. 9 Cedar Rapids Jefferson and No. 7 Urbandale went into the 10th inning before Urbandale’s Anna Simon connected on a single to right field to score the winning run and provide the 5-4 final. Tuesday’s Class 5A Region 6 final loss kept Jefferson (31-9) from its fourth-straight state softball tournament.

“We had a great year. We weren’t supposed to be here because we graduated five kids last year,” said J-Hawks coach Brian Erbe. “We toughed it out all year. You can’t take anything away from Urbandale, my gosh.”

Jefferson led 3-0 through four innings after Avery Guy homered to left in the first, Alex Smith scored on an error and Lindsey Culver homered to center. Urbandale managed two hits through four innings, but found its stroke in the fifth.

Facing two outs with one runner on base, Urbandale’s next four batters all recorded hits with senior Mickey Cole knocking in a two-run double.

Culver, who went 3-for-3 — and also reached bases on balls — with a home run, said she could feel the dugout tense up a bit after Urbandale took the lead. Keeping the energy level high was the only way they could claw back ahead.

“Just relaxing and trusting our swings and trusting our teammates to move us around on bases and score runs,” Culver said of the strategy. “Just keeping energy up in the dugout is a big thing for us. When we keep energy up in the dugout we usually hit well.”

Erica Oler hit a double to left field in the sixth to knot the score 4-4, but neither team could budge off that mark before Urbandale struck in the 10th.

Facing two outs once again Urbandale got the RBI from Simon — who started the fifth-inning barrage — before Jefferson went down in order in the bottom of the inning.

When Erbe gathered his team on the field afterward, his message wasn’t one of missed opportunities. All he wanted was for his players — only one of whom is a senior — was to remember the feeling of loss and use it as fuel in the offseason.

“You’ve got to give (Urbandale) credit,” Erbe said. “They stuck around, hung around and eventually pulled it off. It’s a 10-inning ball game. It could go any way you want.”

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