Prep Softball

West Liberty gets first trip to state softball, a fire-truck tour of the town

Comets jump on Anamosa early for 7-2 win in 3A regional final

The West Liberty Comets celebrate their 7-2 win over Anamosa in a Class 3A softball regional final Monday. (Jeff Linder/The Gazette)
The West Liberty Comets celebrate their 7-2 win over Anamosa in a Class 3A softball regional final Monday. (Jeff Linder/The Gazette)

WEST LIBERTY — Those weren’t limousines. Those were fire trucks the West Liberty Comets boarded.

Make history, and you get lights and sirens.

Fourth-ranked West Liberty jumped on No. 8 Anamosa early and coasted to a 7-2 victory in Monday’s Class 3A softball regional final at West Liberty Elementary School.

“It’s amazing,” said junior Hayley Lehman, who reached base four times out of the leadoff spot and scored twice. “I’m so glad we got to do this with this team.”

West Liberty (28-5) advances to the state tournament for the first time in school history. The Comets will face No. 7 Treynor (30-3) in the first round at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, at the Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge.

Isabelle True won a 2A state championship last year at Louisa-Muscatine, then transferred to West Liberty shortly before the end of the school year.

True was asked if she had any nuggets of wisdom for her teammates as they prepared for Monday’s biggie.

“Not really,” she said. “I was nervous, too. But it’s great to make it again. It’s their first time.”

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Act like they’ve been there before? No thanks. The Comets basked in their newfound glory. They climbed aboard a pair of city fire trucks that dropped by shortly after the final out, and toured the town before returning to the diamond.

The teams split two regular-season meetings, but West Liberty sucked the drama out of this one immediately, scoring three times in the first inning, twice in the second and twice in the third for a 7-0 advantage.

“Our mantra is to try to put pressure on the other team,” Comets Coach Chad Libby said. “The first two runs were crucial.”

Lehman led off with a single, then scored one out later on Austyn Crees’ triple. Crees followed her home when the throw to third bounced into the dugout.

It was that kind of night for Anamosa (31-5), which committed five errors.

“They jumped on us,” Raiders Coach Brad Holub said. “We were a little tentative ... and they weren’t.”

Still, it was quite a turnaround for Anamosa. Holub is the Raiders’ fourth coach in four years, and the program went from 13-17 to 31-5 under his guidance.

“This is just the beginning,” he said.

But for the Comets, this is more. This was a night to remember. A historic win, and a tour of the town.

Lights flashed. Sirens wailed. Horns blared.

“There’s nothing more special, especially for a community like this, that hasn’t gotten to experience this before,” Libby said. “Halfway through the season, I think the kids realized that they’re really good.”

WEST LIBERTY 7, ANAMOSA 2

3A Regional Final, at West Liberty

Anamosa 000 101 0 — 2 5 5

West Liberty 322 000 x — 7 8 1

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Kalli Minger and Jessie Frasher. Isabelle True and Austyn Crees. W — True (16-1). L — Minger (21-5).

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

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