CEDAR RAPIDS — It would have been a stretch to call it a slump. A power drought, maybe.
“I was hitting kind of crappy,” Cedar Rapids Jefferson all-stater Lindsey Culver said. “As a senior, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.”
That ended Thursday night, when Culver hit her first two home runs of the season, including a grand slam that ignited Class 5A ninth-ranked Jefferson past Cedar Rapids Xavier, 10-0, in the nightcap of a Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader Thursday night at Bob Erusha Field.
Xavier erased an early 3-0 deficit to capture the opener, 13-6, behind an 11-hit attack.
A South Dakota State signee, Culver entered the season with 42 career home runs, but hadn’t gone deep in her first nine games this season.
She hit one early in the opener, then broke open the second game with a grand slam on 1-2 count.
“I was waiting for my pitch, and with two strikes I was able to get one, and I golfed it over the (left-field) scoreboard,” she said.
That made it 5-0 in the top of the second inning, and the J-Hawks (7-4 overall, 6-2 MVC) were well on their way to snagging the split.
Xavier Coach Nikki Gahring said she thought briefly about walking Culver with the bases loaded.
“It was in my thought process; it’s kind of a Catch-22,” she said. “I was hoping, worst-case scenario, that she might hit a gap and they’d get a run or two, but she went down to get that low pitch.”
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The Saints (8-5, 7-5) spotted the J-Hawks a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning of Game 1, but stormed back with four runs in the bottom of the third, then two in the fourth, four in the fifth (highlighted by Olivia Richards’ two-run homer) and three in the sixth.
Leadoff hitter Keera Ball collected three hits for the Saints in the first game, driving in three runs and scoring two.
“I’m proud of the way we attacked in the first game,” Gahring said. “We had good discipline, and got the production to show for it.”
CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 13-0, CEDAR RAPIDS JEFFERSON 6-10 (2nd, 5)
At C.R. Xavier
C.R. Jefferson 300 002 1 — 6 9 3
C.R. Xavier 004 243 x — 13 11 3
Hannah Daughenbaugh, Shandi Rulli (4) and Hannah Markham. Kennedy Oleson and Grace Zaugg. W — Kennedy Oleson (5-1). L — Daughenbaugh (2-2). HR — CRJ: Lindsey Culver (1); CRX: Olivia Richards (2).
C.R. Jefferson 140 23 — 10 12 0
C.R. Xavier 000 00 — 0 5 3
Shandi Rulli and Hannah Markham. Mary Morrow, Duonna Coyle (2) and Grace Zaugg. W — Rulli (4-2). L — Morrow (1-3). HR — CRJ: Lindsey Culver (2).
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