Cyclones blank Fillies in 4A state opener

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High senior Morgan Buchholz watches through the dugout fence as the Fillies have their final at-bat in Friday’s state softball tournament game. The Fillies lost to Ottawa 5-0 at Salina.
Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Alex Hill pitches in the Class 4A state softball tournament in Salina Friday.

SALINA — As the sun finally spilled behind the trees Friday night at Bill Burke Complex, Iola High’s Fillies saw their state tournament trip draw to a close.
In their maiden journey to the Kansas Class 4A State Softball Tournament in Iola High’s five-year softball program, the Fillies weren’t able to figure out Ottawa High’s pitcher Hallie Ray. Ray and the Cyclones defeated Iola 5-0 in the quarterfinal round to open the state tournament.
It appeared in the first inning the Fillies were on Ray. Leadoff hitter Lyndsi Faulhaber singled. Megan Cook hit into a fielder’s choice but ended up at third on two wild pitches.
Ray found her groove retiring the next 16 Iola batters. It started with a strikeout of Jenna Sigg in the first inning with the Iola runner at third base.
Iola didn’t have another base runner against Ray until Faulhaber reached on a dropped third strike in the sixth with two gone.
Ottawa brought in Anna Mages to pitch the seventh inning. Sigg singled to left field but was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Morgan Buchholz popped out to the shortstop for the second out. Molly Riebel ripped a single down the first base line. Alex Hill grounded out, short to first, for the final out.
“It was disappointing in that I really thought we had a good opportunity to beat Ottawa and move on the tournament,” said Vince Coons, Fillies’ head coach.
“Ottawa’s hitters adjusted to the strike zone and started hitting the ball. We just didn’t hit the ball as well.”
Ottawa scored three runs in the third on four hits, a sacrifice fly and a throwing error by Iola. The Cyclones added two more runs in the fifth for the 5-0 lead.
“Alex (Hill) pitched alright but didn’t adjust as well to the strike zone and didn’t move the ball as well on her pitches,” Coons said. “We made some fielding mistakes and didn’t take advantage of a couple opportunities when we did have runners on base.”
Hill allowed nine hits and walked three. She struck out four batters. Hill’s first pitch in state tournament play was a strike.
Riebel made three catches in deep center field. One was a falling down catch at the fence to end the fourth inning as Ottawa had two on base.
In the fifth inning. Faulhaber, Iola’s shortstop, snared a ball hit to the left toward second base and threw Joselyn Dean out at first.
“All in all, I was very proud of what this group of girls did this season. They played hard all season and made it to state for the first time,” Coons said.
“All of these girls were dedicated to the progress of the IHS program and they had a tremendous season to be proud of.”
Faulhaber, Sigg and Riebel each had a single for Iola.
Iola loses four seniors from the 2009 squad — Sigg, who plays third base, catcher Kylie Taylor, second baseman Buchholz and right fielder Codi Ellis.