116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — Losing stings anyway.
But the way this one got away from the Mount Vernon Mustangs, that made this especially difficult.
“Obviously, it was tough,” Coach Robin Brand said. “The routine plays we pride ourselves on ... ”
She didn’t complete the sentence. She didn’t have to.
Top-ranked Davenport Assumption scored nine runs in its last two times at bat (seven were unearned) and rallied past No. 2 Mount Vernon, 10-5, to win the Class 3A state softball championship Friday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
The Knights (40-3) claimed their fourth title in the last five years and have compiled a 186-15 record in that span.
Down 5-1 through 4 1/2 innings, Assumption matched the largest comeback in state championship game history. Three other teams had come back from a four-run deficit.
“The fifth inning, we got complacent a little bit,” Mount Vernon’s Nadia Telecky said.
The Mustangs finished 36-5, advancing to their first final. With nine starters returning for 2022, it might not be their last.
“In the huddle after the game, the seniors told us we’ll be back next year,” said freshman Addison Gookin, one of three Mount Vernon players to be named to the all-tournament squad.
Telecky and pitcher Jenna Sprague also were honored. Assumption’s Anna Wohlers was the captain after driving in four late runs.
“It was a great game, so much fun,” Telecky said. “We came in like, ‘Let’s do this. Win or lose, it’s going to be fun.’”
And for 4 1/2 innings, it was a blast.
Telecky scored on a double steal in the first inning to put Mount Vernon in front. After the Knights knotted it at 1-1, the Mustangs tallied three times in the top of the second.
Lauren Swartzendruber singled home a run, then No. 9 hitter Lilly See unloaded for a two-run homer to make it 4-1.
Assumption starter Bella Nigey was lifted after two innings, then the Mustangs greeted reliever Leah Maro with another run in the third to extend the margin to 5-1.
“We were rolling,” Sprague said.
But Maro (15-1) shut down the Mustangs after that, retiring 10 straight batters from the third inning through the sixth.
“I don’t think she was much different,” Brand said. “But we couldn’t hit her as well. Our timing was a little off.”
Telecky said, “Her spin was loose, and she was jamming our lefties.”
Mount Vernon took a 5-1 lead into the fifth, when things started to slip.
Lauren Loken opened the inning with a home run. Nothing hurt there, that just made it 5-2.
The first big sign of trouble was an error on a sacrifice bunt that played a role in extending the inning, and Wohlers made it hurt. Her two-run triple brought the Knights within 5-4.
Assumption scored six times in the sixth. Maddie Loken started it with a double. A pair of Mount Vernon errors played a role in the middle of the rally, which included a game-tying sacrifice fly by Lauren Loken, a go-ahead RBI single by Olivia Wardlow, and a dagger two-run homer by Wohlers, her 21st of the season.
Wohlers was a single short of the cycle, driving in four runs.
The Mustangs spoke from the heart afterward. The loss was one source of the emotion. Their bond was another.
“We got this far. I love this team so much,” Gookin said. “We had such great chemistry.”
Telecky said, “The relationships we built ... I wouldn’t trade this team for anybody.”
DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION 10, MOUNT VERNON 5
Class 3A State Championship, at Fort Dodge
Mount Vernon 131 000 0 — 5 9 3
Davenport Assumption 100 036 x — 10 10 1
Jenna Sprague and Kenna Rollinger. Bella Nigey, Leah Maro (3) and Anna Wohlers. W — Maro (15-1). L — Sprague (27-3). HR — MV: Lilly See (5), DA: Lauren Loken (3), Anna Wohlers (21).