116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — As her players returned to the dugout, a four-run lead gone, Robin Brand monitored their faces.
Instead of panic, she saw calm. Rather than worry, she witnessed determination.
They were fine.
“They came back with fire,” Brand said.
They stormed back, to be more precise.
Lilly See hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the bottom of the fifth, Addison Gookin delivered a backbreaking two-run home run in the in the sixth and top-ranked Mount Vernon dethroned No. 2 Davenport Assumption, 10-5, in the Class 3A championship game at the state softball tournament Friday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“There’s some relief there, but more than anything, it’s a lot of excitement,” said Gookin, the 3A all-tournament captain. “This was the definition of a fun game.”
Mount Vernon completed a 36-4 season with the school’s first softball championship.
“It’s surreal,” Maia Bentley said. “Me and Nadia (Telecky) looked at each other in the fifth inning, like, ‘Not again.’ It wasn’t going to end this way again.
“The lighter we are, the better we play. We couldn’t put too much pressure on ourselves. We knew we could do it.”
In last year’s final, Assumption rallied from a 5-1 deficit to top the Mustangs, 10-5.
This year, the Knights (36-9) rallied again, turning a 4-0 deficit into a 5-4 advantage in the top of the fifth. Mount Vernon answered, in a big way. And it wasted no time.
With one out, the Mustangs greeted Assumption relief pitcher Lea Maro with an onslaught. Gookin doubled, Ashlyn Steen reached on a fielder’s choice and Kenna Rollinger walked.
Pinch-hitter Kameron Brand tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Avery Plathe walked to reload the bases.
Then See delivered the knock to put Mount Vernon ahead, this time for good, at 7-5.
“We’ve been doing it for each other all year,” See said. “I just wanted to come through for the seniors.”
The Mustangs weren’t done. In the sixth, Jenna Sprague doubled and scored on Bentley’s single. Gookin’s two-run homer made it 10-5, and that was checkmate.
“We wanted this bad,” Gookin said. “We had the one-up on them because we had eight returners (from last year).”
Gookin was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Sprague, Telecky and Kenna Rollinger. Third-place Williamsburg also landed two on the honor team: Peyton Driscoll and Elle Ridgeway.
Sprague (27-2) and Assumption starter Bella Nigey were dominant early, and it was 0-0 through 3 1/2 innings.
But Mount Vernon struck for four in the bottom of the fourth (RBI hits from Gookin, Rollinger, Plathe and See), then Assumption tallied five in the top of the fifth (a two-run double by Abby Odean and a three-run homer by Sydney Roe).
“I had a pretty good idea how we would respond,” Brand said. “They had a hurdle in front of them. Were they going to go over it, around it or through it?
“They were unstoppable and they were fearless.”
Mount Vernon 10, Davenport Assumption 5
Class 3A State Championship, at Fort Dodge
Davenport Assumption 000 050 0 — 5 8 0
Mount Vernon 000 433 x — 10 13 0
Bella Nigey, Leah Maro (5), Nigey (6) and Sydney Roe. Jenna Sprague and Kenna Rollinger. W — Sprague (27-2). L — Maro (11-6). HR — DA: Roe (9), MV: Addison Gookin (7).