CEDAR RAPIDS — After dropping three straight one-run games, the Xavier Saints were due.
“It’s about time we busted one open like that,” Coach Nikki Gahring said.
Locked in a scoreless draw through six innings, Cedar Rapids Xavier put together a volcanic rally in the seventh, scoring nine times on 10 hits for a 9-2 victory and an MVC Mississippi Division softball doubleheader split with Cedar Rapids Prarie on Thursday at Prairie High School.
“When we hit, we all hit together,” said Kennedy Oleson, who started the rally with a one-out single, then capped it with an RBI hit nine batters later.
Xavier (4-6, 1-3 MVC Mississippi) nearly had a breakout night Tuesday, but let a pair of seventh-inning leads get away against Class 5A heavyweight Iowa City High. Then, Prairie (4-4, 1-1) won Thursday’s opener on Miranda Farr’s eighth-inning single, after the Saints had rallied back from a 4-0 deficit.
“We’ve got kids up and down the lineup that can make solid contact,” Gahring said. “They’re high school kids. They’re unpredictable. But that last inning, their energy level was really high.”
With just one hit in the first six innings, the Saints unloaded in the seventh. Rylee Beardsworth got Xavier on the board with an RBI single, then Grace Zaugg’s two-run single made it 3-0. Duanna Coyle and Briona Charipar added two-run ropes, what had been a tight game, suddenly wasn’t.
Oleson also was the winning pitcher, blanking the Hawks through six innings despite giving up a pair of hits in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
“I’m kind of a defensive pitcher,” she said. “I have the defense behind me, and I’m able to make batters hit the ball in the air ors on the ground to them.”
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Due to COVID-19 precautions, Prairie had not practiced in six days. They found out at 11 a.m. Wednesday that they had the all-clear to resume action.
“It’s been a waiting game,” Coach Alisha Frese said. “We’ve had a broken hip, a broken wrist and now this. But we knew before the season that this might be a possibility.”
Prairie jumped to a 4-0 lead in the opener thanks to Hannah Ironside’s three-run double in the second inning. Xavier scored three in the third, then got even on an error in the sixth.
Gabby Robinson’s double got the Hawks going with one out in the eighth. After a pair of walks, Farr delivered with a clean single to left-center field.
CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 5-2, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 4-9 (1st, 8)
At C.R. Prairie
C.R. Xavier 003 001 00 — 4 8 2
C.R. Prairie 130 000 01 — 5 10 2
(2 outs when winning run scored)
Mary Morrow and Grace Zaugg. Riley Sauser, Megan Steffens (8) and Braedy LaGrange. W — Steffens (2-2). L — Morrow (1-4).
C.R. Xavier 000 000 9 — 9 11 1
C.R. Prairie 000 000 2 — 2 9 2
Kennedy Oleson and Grace Zaugg. Megan Steffens, Jade Hynek (7) and Braedy LaGrange. W — Oleson (3-2). L — Steffens (2-3).
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