116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
OXFORD — To advance in softball, Clear Creek Amana had play some serious dodgeball.
The seventh-ranked Clippers dodged a multitude of scoring opportunities by Marion, capitalized on three Wolves errors in the fourth inning and prevailed, 3-1, in a Class 4A softball regional semifinal Saturday night at McAreavy Field.
“(Pitcher) Ashley (Webb) really stuck with it,” CCA Coach Jodie Scheetz said. “(Marion) is a team that hits the hell out of the ball.”
But the big, harmful hit never came from the Wolves, who stranded 10 baserunners.
“We kept waiting for it,” Marion Coach Scott Fruehling said. “We had a ton of opportunities.”
Clear Creek Amana (29-9) eliminated Marion for the second straight year and advanced to face Burlington (19-13) in a regional final at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Grayhounds were 4-0 winners over Fort Madison on Saturday.
The winner advances to the state tournament July 18-22 at the Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge.
Marion (21-18) collected seven hits off Webb, but the junior lefty stayed cool and composed in the midst of all of that traffic on the basepaths.
“My main goal was to hit the corners, hit my spots,” Webb said. “If they touched the ball, I didn’t want it to be solid contact.
“I was pretty nervous. Last year, we went 11 innings with them (in the regional finals, before winning 11-10), and they hit it off me pretty well.”
In the first inning, the Wolves had runners at second and third with no outs, but came up empty.
In the third, they got a run (Peyton Johnson doubled home Kylie Kramer) and had two more runners on base without an out, but scored no more.
Johnson doubled in both of her first two plate appearances. With two on and two outs in the top of the fourth and Marion still up 1-0, Scheetz elected to intentionally walk the Wolves’ leadoff hitter, and the strategy worked when Webb got an infield pop-up out of Leah Fruehling.
Clear Creek Amana pounced in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three unearned runs. Aeslyn Massey started the rally with a one-out double, then three errors played a major factor. Avery Allan had a key RBI single.
Marion’s last good chance came in the sixth, getting runners to second and third with two outs, but Webb induced a fly out to end the threat.
Scheetz has a nice dilemma. In addition to Webb (14-4, 1.43 ERA), she has sophomore right-hander Bliss Beck (15-4, 0.52). Their strikeout and walk numbers are nearly identical.
“We’ve got two that can do it,” Scheetz said. “We might mix and match. We might have Ashley go once through the lineup, then go to Bliss, then come back to Ashley.”
Marion loses five starters to graduation.
“A lot of these girls played for me as eighth-graders,” Fruehling said. “We talk about legacy ... what’s their legacy going to be? These girls put Marion softball back on the map.”
Clear Creek Amana 3, Marion 1
Class 4A Regional Semifinal, at Oxford
Marion 001 000 0 — 1 7 3
Clear Creek Amana 000 300 x — 3 5 0
Haley Slaymaker and Peyton Johnson. Ashley Webb and Aeslyn Massey. W — Webb (14-4). L — Slaymaker (15-14).