116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — Eight seed? Eighth-graders?
The nucleus of Dubuque Wahlert’s softball team resembled neither.
“We talk about respecting all and fearing none,” Mount Vernon Coach Robin Brand said. “And that team ... we respect that team.”
A squad that won only two games a year ago, Wahlert played top-ranked Mount Vernon to a stalemate for four innings Monday night. But the Mustangs tallied on a pair of sacrifice flies in the fifth and topped the Golden Eagles, 3-1, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“We knew they weren’t going to roll over,” said Mount Vernon’s Nadia Telecky, who led off with a triple and scored twice as the Mustangs (34-4) advanced.
The Mustangs will face No. 6 Saydel (32-4) in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Wednesday. It’s the Mustangs’ third straight year in the semis; they were 3A runners-up last year.
Instead of muscle, Mount Vernon won this one by manufacturing runs.
It’s not jaw-dropping, but it’s fundamental, sound softball. Winning softball.
“You’ve got to make it happen one way or another,” Telecky said. “It’s not always the big hits. Put the ball in play, make things happen.”
Actually, it was a pair of extra-base hits by Telecky that set the stage for both of the Mustangs’ scoring rallies.
With the game knotted, 1-1, in the bottom of the fifth, Lilly See led off with a single and Telecky followed with a double to put runners at second and third with no outs.
Jenna Sprague lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, Maia Bentley did the same to left, and Mount Vernon had the cushion it needed.
Sprague took it from there in the circle. She retired 14 of the last 15 batters she faced and advanced her record to 24-2 with a three-hitter.
She was unimpressed with herself.
“It wasn’t my best game,” she said. “I need to get stronger. I probably underestimated them and assumed they weren’t as good as they are. I missed my spots a little bit.”
Telecky’s leadoff triple to left field got the Mustangs started, and she scored on Sprague’s groundout.
Wahlert (23-17) got even in the top of the second. Addi Klein led off with a free pass and scored with two outs on Julia Roth’s double.
Klein and Roth are two of six starting eighth-graders for the Golden Eagles, who suffered through a 2-30 campaign in 2021.
“I didn’t see them as an 8-seed. They seemed like more of a 4-seed,” Brand said. “They swing it hard every time.”
Mount Vernon 3, Dubuque Wahlert 1
Class 3A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Dubuque Wahlert 010 000 0 — 1 3 1
Mount Vernon 100 020 x — 3 9 0
Julia Roth and Bailey Welu. Jenna Sprague and Kenna Rollinger. W — Sprague (24-2). L — Roth (5-7).