DAVENPORT — The Mount Vernon softball team was well aware of what it was up against.
Standing between the Mustangs and a berth in the state tournament for the fourth year in a row was top-ranked Davenport Assumption, the defending Class 3A state champion with a pitcher throwing who had lost just once all season.
Tall task indeed.
“They’re a very balanced team,” Mount Vernon Coach Robin Brand said after Davenport Assumption blanked the Mustangs, 7-0, in a Class 3A regional final Monday night at St. Vincent Athletic Complex. “They’re quick. They can hit the ball. They’ve got good pitchers. They’re a good team, so we would have had to play one of our best games in order to do that.”
Assumption (36-3) is in the state tournament for the third year in a row. After finishing second in 2016, the Knights won their first state championship last season.
“Real tough lineup,” Assumption Coach Ron Ferrill said. “We don’t have a weak spot in the lineup. ... There is nonstop pressure on the opponents and then with our speed, too, it just adds to the pressure. Mount Vernon played a great game. It’s just we have that many weapons that when our girls are focused, we’re going to pressure the other team into mistakes.”
The most effective weapon for Assumption was senior pitcher Hannah Kelley. The UNI signee retired 15 of the 16 batters she faced and struck out two in five scoreless innings. Kelley is now 20-1 in the circle this season.
“I just tried to mix my pitches a lot,” Kelley said. “Keep the hitters off balance as much as I could.”
Assumption scored three runs in the second inning and four in the fifth against Mount Vernon starter Amanda Roe (14-12). A three-run home run by senior Hannah Wislander broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth inning.
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Mount Vernon ends its season at 23-18. After rebounding from a slow start to the season and bringing a sizable win streak into the regional final, the Mustangs are already looking to next season.
“We’re ready to go,” Brand said. “We’re ready to go right now so they’ve got some big shoes to fill, but we’ve got kids that are on our bench and kids that are sitting at our Level 2, 3 coming up. I could throw a bunch of them and we could start tomorrow. We’ve got kids ready to go.”
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