Prep Softball

Independence falls to Sergeant Bluff-Luton in state softball quarterfinals, 3-2

Mustangs let early opportunities pass them by

FORT DODGE — Heather Hupke didn’t suspect excessive jitters.

“No,” said Hupke, the softball coach at Independence High School. “Our kids were ready to go.

“Defensively, we didn’t help ourselves. And how many did we leave on base in the early innings?”

Too many, as it turned out.

Madelyn Mogensen drove home Chloe Blank for the go-ahead run in the top of the sixth inning, and 15th-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton tripped No. 5 Independence, 3-2, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the state tournament Tuesday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.

“We were just getting ahead of ourselves,” said Mackenzie Hupke, Heather’s daughter and the Indee pitcher. “We weren’t playing like we played all season long. I think we were trying to do too much instead of just playing.”

Sergeant Bluff-Luton (24-13) advances to face Des Moines Hoover (20-7) in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hoover upset No. 4 Charles City, 7-2, Tuesday.

“We were eighth here last year,” said Black, who scored two of Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s runs and stole three bases. “We didn’t want to go through that again.”

Independence (34-7) is making its first state appearance since 2005. It will conclude with a consolation game with Charles City (33-7) at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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Sergeant Bluff-Luton successfully stole 95 of 96 bases before it came to Fort Dodge, and swiped seven more Tuesday. All three of the Warriors’ runs were aided by thievery.

“We wanted to run and take their energy,” Black said.

Black singled to lead off the sixth, stole second, then scored on Mogensen’s hit to break a 2-2 draw.

Independence had a chance to tie in the seventh. Lydia Butters singled to open the frame, then move to second on Abby Davis’ sacrifice bunt. Allie Jo Zieser flew out to right, and Butters tagged up before the catch and was thrown out trying to get back to second.

SBL scored a pair of unearned runs in the first, then Independence tied it at 2-2 in the fourth when Davis singled home Mary Puffett and Kaylee Hosch.

“I was just looking for a good pitch,” Davis said. “I got the pitch I wanted, and I hit it.

“We’re usually more relaxed that we were today. We’ll come back tomorrow and be more relaxed.”

Independence stranded eight runners in the first four innings. The Mustangs committed four errors, SBL five.

SERGEANT BLUFF-LUTON 3, INDEPENDENCE 2

Class 4A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge

Sergeant Bluff-Luton 200 001 0 — 3 6 5

Independence 000 200 0 — 2 6 4

Bradee Bouman and Madelyn Mogensen. Mackenzie Hupke and Kenzie Fischels. W — Bouman (16-9). L — Hupke (23-4).

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

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