Prep Softball

Brielle Bastian's hustle play sparks Cedar Rapids Xavier in an MVC softball split

Western Dubuque wins the opener in 6 innings, then Saints respond with 9-3 triumph

Cedar Rapids Xavier catcher Grace Zaugg (7) and pitcher Mary Morrow (12) meet on the mound with Coach Nikki Gahring duri
Cedar Rapids Xavier catcher Grace Zaugg (7) and pitcher Mary Morrow (12) meet on the mound with Coach Nikki Gahring during their game against Western Dubuque on Monday at Xavier. Western Dubuque won the opener, 11-1, then the Saints took the nightcap, 9-3. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — One little burst of energy caused one big swing in momentum.

Brielle Bastian scored from second base as part of a two-run infield single by Maggie Conrad, and that set the tone of a Game 2 renaissance for the Cedar Rapids Xavier softball team Monday night.

The Saints salvaged an MVC Mississippi Division doubleheader split with Class 4A 12th-ranked Western Dubuque at Bob Erusha Field, dropping the opener 11-1 in six innings before cruising in the nightcap, 9-3.

“That play definitely got everybody’s spirits up,” Xavier Coach Nikki Gahring said. “It proved, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ We have the ability to do it when we’re focused.”

Bastian was 3-for-3 in the nightcap and scored three times.

“We came out in the first game, and we didn’t have enough energy,” Bastian said. “Our defensive practice today was a little rusty. In our huddle before the second game, we just said that we needed to step up.”

After spotting Western Dubuque (7-3, 4-2 MVC Mississippi) the first run, the Saints (5-7, 2-4) responded right away.

Kya Loffswold walked and Bastian reached on a bunt single. Then the two executed a double steal.

Two outs later, Conrad hustled out a grounder to score Loffswold easily. Bastian rounded third, kept going and beat the throw to the plate.

“I looked at Coach, and she told me to keep going,” Bastian said. “I got back to the dugout, and everybody was excited.”

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Leading 3-2, the Saints broke it open with six runs in the fifth. Isabelle Jorgensen had the key hit, a two-run single.

“Obviously, we proved in the second game that we have some areas to work on,” Bobcats Coach Rachael Neal said. “The first game, I’m proud of the way we came out strong in all facets.”

Western Dubuque scored twice without the benefit of a hit in the top of the second inning, tacked on three runs in the fourth and six in the sixth. No. 9 hitter Jenna Fiedler rapped a two-run double to give the Bobcats a 10-run cushion.

Bobcats pitcher Sydney Kennedy (5-1) allowed two hits, striking out nine and walking six.

“She’s a workhorse,” Neal said. “She does a nice job adjusting to the strike zone, hitting the corners.”

And Monday, Kennedy’s spot to hit was the inside corner at the knees.

In Game 1, all nine Bobcats either scored a run or drove one in.

WESTERN DUBUQUE 11-3, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 1-9 (1st, 6)

At C.R. Xavier

Game 1

Western Dubuque 020 306 — 11 9 1

C.R. Xavier 000 010 — 1 2 3

Sydney Kennedy and Emma Gile. Mary Morrow, Elena Schmit (6) and Grace Zaugg. W — Kennedy (5-1). L — Morrow (1-5).

Game 2

Western Dubuque 101 001 0 — 3 6 2

C.R. Xavier 201 060 x — 9 9 0

Meredith Hoerner, Sydney Kennedy (5) and Emma Gile. Kennedy Oleson and Grace Zaugg. W — Oleson (4-2). L — Hoerner (1-2). HR — WD: Amy Kane (1).

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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