116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
ANAMOSA — For the third time in school history, and the first since back-to-back trips in 1995 and 1996, Anamosa punched its ticket to Fort Dodge with a 4-1 victory over Crestwood in the Class 3A Region 6 softball final Monday night.
“Three years of hard work,” Anamosa Coach Brad Holub said. “I think we changed the attitudes a little bit. Just getting the confidence. I thought we took steps every year. We got cheated a little bit with COVID last year. We couldn’t have our normal season. It’s the seniors that came before. It was three years in the making.”
A bona fide ace on the mound doesn’t hurt either. Sophomore Emily Watters turned in a masterful performance, striking out 12. She has now tallied a staggering 332 punchouts in 162.2 innings of work.
“With Emily on the mound, we have a chance for everything,” Holub said.
The night got off to a hectic start for No. 7 Anamosa (32-9). Crestwood (21-8) leadoff hitter Olivia Ollendieck snuck a push bunt past Watters. Cadets pitcher Kyleigh Foster singled up the middle as Crestwood put runners on second and third with one out.
Ultimately, the Cadets could not catch up to Watters’ rise ball. Watters struck out Britain Ferrie and AnnaMae Leverson with high heat to end the threat.
“I knew that I could pitch out of it,” Watters said. “I’ve pitched out of big situations before. If I just stay focused, I can pitch out of it.”
Still scoreless in the third, Watters doubled in the right-center gap. Crestwood elected to put Blue Raiders star hitter Grace Lubben on, leaving runners on second and third with two outs. Senior catcher Lexi Bright calmly stepped to the plate and delivered a two-RBI single.
“I was just looking to put the ball in play,” Bright said. “I was having to believe in myself as well as my teammates.”
Watters added an opposite field solo home run in the bottom of the fifth on an 0-2 count.
The Cadets found the scoreboard in the top of the sixth with an RBI single from Foster. The Blue Raiders answered with an RBI single from Mady Meeker in the bottom of the frame.
Watters came out for the top of the seventh and promptly struck out the side, all looking.
“It’s a feeling that I haven’t gotten to experience,” Watters said. “I’m very grateful for all of my teammates that are behind me and all of my coaches who have helped me for so many years.”