Prep Softball

Benton earns split with No. 1 Independence

Wamac Conference West Division race is still up for grabs

Benton Community’s Angie Gorkow (left) gets a high-five at the 2016 state softball tournament. Gorkow had six RBIs in a doubleheader split with Independence on Monday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Benton Community’s Angie Gorkow (left) gets a high-five at the 2016 state softball tournament. Gorkow had six RBIs in a doubleheader split with Independence on Monday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

VAN HORNE — The torch hasn’t been passed yet. It’s still a race.

Angie Gorkow drove in six runs Monday night, including four in the nightcap as Benton Community salvaged the second game of a Wamac Conference West Division softball doubleheader with Class 4A top-ranked Independence, 7-5, at Benton Community High School.

“It’s exciting when you can help your team like that,” Gorkow said. “But one person doesn’t do it all. We were hitting up and down the line, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

The five-time defending divisional champion, Benton (21-11, 8-2) stayed in the hunt for anther crown.

“It’s our first team goal,” Gorkow said.

Independence (24-4, 7-1) remains the front-runner, though, thanks to a come-from behind 3-2 triumph in the opener. The Mustangs scored the tie-breaking run when Allie Jo Zieser raced home on a wild pitch in the top of the seventh inning.

Neither coach was thrilled with the outcome. Splits can do that.

“This wasn’t our best ball,” Indee Coach Heather Hupke said. “We were off tonight. Kudos to Benton; they really challenged us.

“We can’t be satisfied with being good. We want to be great. We were average tonight.”

As for Benton Coach Eric Stenberg: “We feel like we’re capable of playing very good ball, and we’re capable of losing to teams we probably should beat. We’ve done some of both this season.”

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Gorkow drove home the first two runs in the opener with a third-inning double, but the Mustangs rallied with a tally in each of the final three innings, including Lydia Butters’ first home run of the season in the fifth inning.

After Gorkow’s 13th home run of the season gave Benton a 2-0 lead in the nightcap, Independence took a 4-2 lead, but the Mustangs stranded seven runners on base in the first three innings.

Grace Martensen tied it at 4-4 with a solo homer in the third, then the Bobcats went in front for good with two runs — without a hit — in the fourth. 

INDEPENDENCE 3-5, BENTON COMMUNITY 2-7

At Van Horne

Game 1

Independence 000 011 1 — 3 7 0

Benton Community 002 000 0 — 2 6 1

Mackenzie Hupke and Kenzie Fischels. Katelyn Buscher, Grace Martensen (6) and Brielle Hogan. W — Hupke (16-2). L — Martensen (9-7). HR — IND: Lydia Butters (1).

Game 2

Independence 031 010 0 — 5 11 2

Benton Community 202 201 x — 7 8 4

Mackenzie Hupke and Kenzie Fischels. Grace Martensen and Brielle Hogan. W — Martensen (10-7). L — Hupke (16-3). HR — BC: Angie Gorkow (13), Martensen (10).

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

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