FORT DODGE — According to Jena Young, the Winterset Huskies hit better against better pitchers.
And Macey Kleitsch is a very good one.
“We knew we had to come out swinging and get ahead,” Young said.
Consider it done.
No. 10 Winterset pounded out 11 hits in the first three innings, held off a late charge and knocked off No. 2 West Delaware, 7-4, in a Class 4A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Monday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“Hats off to them,” West Delaware Coach Tiffany Rave said. “They were ready to go. They picked out some good pitches and hit them hard.”
Kleitsch said, “They definitely had good hitters. They hit some gaps, and it seemed we hit it right at them.”
Winterset (15-7) scored all seven of its runs in the first three innings — including five in the second — and advanced to face No. 8 Dallas Center-Grimes (20-9) in a semifinal at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“We always want to come out strong and take it to the other team,” Winterset pitcher Thea Banning said. “That’s what we did today.”
West Delaware closes at 21-5. The Hawks had won 15 consecutive games, but got behind Monday and couldn’t climb all the way back.
“We had the mentality that it’s not over until it’s over,” Kleitsch said. “We still thought we were going to get it done, but we fell a little short.”
Still down 7-1 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Hawks scored three runs with two outs. Leah Wegmann hit an RBI single, then Mia Peyton delivered a two-run single.
Alissa Holtz was 3-for-3 for the Hawks, driving in a run and scoring another.
Winterset jumped on the Hawks immediately. Young led off with a double, then Natalie Drake followed with an RBI single.
The Huskies broke it open in the second, collecting five hits, capped by a two-run homer by Ava Lowden.
It wasn’t the way the Hawks wanted to go out, but considering there nearly wasn’t a season, they remained thankful.
“A season to remember, for sure,” Holtz said. “Coming in, we didn’t think we’d have a chance to play. To finish on this field, it makes me very, very happy.”
WINTERSET 7, WEST DELAWARE 4
Class 4A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Winterset 151 000 0 — 7 13 0
West Delaware 010 000 3 — 4 7 1
Thea Banning and Bridget Stover. Macey Kleitsch and Leah Wegmann. W — Banning (15-6). L — Kleitsch (14-4). HR — Wint: Ava Lowden (2).
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