116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — Lily Chiafos’ helmet took a pounding in the postgame scrum of jubilation.
“I’m so happy for my team,” she said. “But I have a little headache right now.”
And in the heat of the moment, Chiafos was a big headache. Her two-run single with two outs in bottom of the seventh inning sent seventh-ranked Waukee past No. 8 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 9-8, in a Class 5A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Tuesday night at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“The other day in practice, I was struggling with the outside corner,” said Chiafos, a senior who bats No. 9 in the Warriors’ lineup. “But I have confidence in myself.”
Waukee (33-10) moves into a 7:30 semifinal Wednesday night against No. 1 Fort Dodge (36-4).
As for the Cougars (27-10), whose reign as 5A state champions ended Tuesday after 355 days, there was heartache. But their trademark on this night was their rally that put them in position to advance.
Down 7-3 after five innings, Kennedy roared back with three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to take its first lead.
“It’s something I’d never seen out of this team before,” Cougars Coach Maddison LeClere said. “We’ve had specific players step up before. But this was a team comeback, 1 through 9.”
It sure was.
Keaton Gerber’s two-run double (her second of the game, she also had one in the third inning) in the sixth brought the Cougars within 7-6.
“We’re a family,” Gerber said. “If you’re on the bench or out in the field, no matter what, you’re part of the family. And we were going to fight.”
Then the bottom of the order went to work in the seventh.
Topanga Beauregard opened with a double, then Sidney Osborn followed with a bunt single. After a wild pitch moved the runners along, Megan Cousins hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game and Lexy Wheatley had another bunt single to put Kennedy in front, 8-7.
But Waukee had the final at-bat, and the final word. With one out, the Warriors strung together three straight singles to load the bases.
After Jayme Scheck recorded a strikeout for the second out, Chiafos punched the first pitch into right field and sent the Warriors home winners.
“It stinks, but in the end, we had a really good fight,” Gerber said.
Kennedy (27-10) will meet No. 13 Bettendorf (24-16) in a consolation game at 3 p.m. Wednesday. And that will wrap up the Cougars’ fourth state appearance in a five-year span.
“We kept telling ourselves, ‘Anything is possible,’” said Kennedy’s Addie Parker, one of five seniors on the team, who reached base four times and scored twice. “This year, we didn’t know what was possible.
“To get here four times in five years, each year was amazing.”
WAUKEE 9, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 8
Class 5A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
C.R. Kennedy 003 003 2 — 8 8 4
Waukee 301 300 2 — 9 12 4
Jayme Scheck and Addy Alber. Maddie Oetzmann and Haley Boyd. W — Oetzmann (16-5). L — Scheck (21-5).