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Tigerhawk bats catch fire in dominant week

Published: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:35 a.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:38 a.m. CST
(Troy Hyde/Jasper County Tribune)
Colfax-Mingo junior Rhiannon Haley puts the ball in play against Pleasantville on June 15 in Colfax. The Tigerhawks won the game 11-1.

COLFAX — The Colfax-Mingo softball team needed a pick me up after an unfortunate loss to Tri-County on June 8. It was third loss during that week and pushed the Tigerhawks down a few spots in the Class 1A rankings.

Since that loss, 1A No. 11 Colfax-Mingo has turned things around. The solution: ice cream.

The Tigerhawks won their fifth straight game on June 15 following an 11-1 nonconference home victory over 2A Pleasantville.

Colfax-Mingo made it six straight wins on the next night following a road win over Iowa Valley. During that win streak, the Tigerhawks have outscored their opponents 81-18. The win improved the Tigerhawks to 15-7 overall and 8-3 in conference play.

The 76-run week also means the entire team gets free ice cream from the coaching staff.

“The ice cream thing started Tuesday against Grand View,” Colfax-Mingo senior Alivia Haley said. “We had 17 runs and coach said if we got to 20 then we’d get free ice cream. Then after the Keota game, we had 49 runs for the week. He then said if we get to 70, we can get ice cream again. It might be the ice cream. It’s worth it.”

Whether or not ice cream had anything to do with the Tigerhawks’ resurgence or not, Colfax-Mingo seems to be hitting its stride at the plate.

The home team belted 13 hits Thursday against the Trojans (12-9), including five extra base hits.

“We went through a cycle where we weren’t putting hits together. Now, we are cycling through a stretch where we are,” Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter said. ‘And we are doing it up and down the lineup. The hits are coming at a high rate, and the kids are feeding off each other.”

Haley had three hits, three runs and two RBIs. She also was hit by a pitch during her at-bat in the first inning. Her season batting average has risen to .411 with a strong week.

“I didn’t get off to a very good start this year,” Haley said. “I am not sure why I am seeing it better this week, but I have been hitting it better.”

Pleasantville got on the board first in the top of the first inning against Tigerhawk senior Amy Russell. The Trojans got two of their four hits in the game in that frame and led 1-0 before Colfax-Mingo had a turn at the plate.

Once the Tigerhawks (14-7) were given that chance, they wouldn’t slow down.

Junior Ries Wilson started the bottom of the first with a single and then moved up to second after Haley was hit by a pitch.

Russell drove in Wilson with an RBI single and then junior Rhiannon Haley brought in her older sister with an RBI fly out.

The score remained 2-1 until the third. Alivia Haley began the bottom of the third with a single and then Russell doubled to put two runners on base. Rhiannon Haley drove in both runs with a two-run single. Rhiannon Haley now has 25 RBIs and Alivia Haley scored her 27th run.

Sophomore Colbee Cunningham then made it 5-1 with an RBI double that scored Rhiannon Haley.

“There are a lot of girls in this lineup that can square balls up, and right now they are squaring it up,” Poulter said. “We are not chasing pitcher’s pitches when we are ahead in the counts.”

Sophomore Chelsea Russell opened the fourth inning with a walk and then her courtest runner, eighth-grader Kira Warrick, moved up a base following a Wilson single. Alivia Haley’s RBI single scored Warrick and then Russell laced a two-run double to make it 8-1.

Russell had three hits, three RBIs and scored two runs. She improved her team-best batting average to .486 and now has a team-high 28 RBIs, which ranks tied for 12th in 1A.

The Tigerhawks ended the game early in the fifth with a pair of runs. Eighth-grader Madison Gilkison drew a one-out walk before scoring on an RBI triple by Wilson. Alivia Haley ended the game with a walk-off RBI single.

“We learned and grew a little bit from that Tri-County loss,” Alivia Haley said. “We went to Adel and won some big games. We knew this could be a big week, too, and it has been.”

Poulter’s underlying message to his team after they lost three of their first four games last week was not to take anyone lightly.

“We had a conversation about not playing to your opponent’s level after that game,” Poulter said. “But it did take something like that to show them that it’s not OK and acceptable to just show up. We have to come ready to go every night.

“I think we got off that idea. Since that loss, we have been in the mode of taking care of business on every out and in every inning. We would have liked to have a do-over during that week of losses to Tri-County and Sigourney. We can’t take those back. Hopefully we are back on track now.”

The 1-2-3 hitters in the Tigerhawk lineup went 9-for-10 on Thursday. Wilson was 3-for-4 with three runs and one RBI and Alivia Haley and Russell both finished 3-for-3. Wilson’s average has climbed to .389 after a slow start.

Russell earned the win in the circle and is now 10-2 on the season. She allowed one earned run on four hits, fanned nine and walked one in the victory. Russell now has 98 strikeouts on the season.

Colfax-Mingo 16, Iowa Valley 2

MARENGO — Colfax-Mingo ended a big week of action with another blowout victory on June 16.

The Tigerhawks continued their tear at the plate, finishing with 16 hits in a 16-2, five-inning win over Iowa Valley during SICL play.

Colfax-Mingo led 8-1 after two innings and then ended the game early with a three-run fourth and a five-run fifth.

The bottom of Colfax-Mingo’s lineup produced seven hits, six runs and eight RBIs.

Gilkison had two hits, two runs and three RBIs from the No. 8 position in the batting order, and sophomore Braedynn Rawlins finished with two hits, two runs and four RBIs in the nine hole.

Sophomore Delaney Underwood, the No. 7 hitter, had a team-high three hits and scored twice.

Seven Tigerhawks had at least two hits and six scored at least two runs.

Gilkison highlighted the eight-run second inning with a two-run double. Iowa Valley also committed three errors.

Rhiannon Haley led off the fourth inning with her fourth home run of the season. She had two hits, two runs and an RBI in the game.

In the four-run fifth, Rawlins and Alivia Haley both smacked two-run doubles. Alivia Haley had two hits and four RBIs, and she also was hit by a pitch.

Sophomore Mackensie Brown scored three times, had two hits and walked once.

Cunningham earned the win the circle, and she scored four runs at the plate. She allowed two earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and needed just 50 pitches to improve to 5-5 on the season.

Iowa Valley (2-17, 1-9) scored once in the second and once more in the fourth.

Colfax-Mingo 13, Keota 0

KEOTA — Colfax-Mingo traveled 184 miles for an SICL game against Keota on June 14 and the Tigerhawks came home with an easy victory over the Eagles.

The defending SICL softball champions stayed in the hunt for another title with a 13-0, three-inning triumph.

The Tigerhawks made quick work of Keota, winning in three innings. Cunningham and Alivia Haley combined to toss a no-hitter against the Eagles, who remained winless on the season.

Colfax-Mingo got a two-run home run from Russell in the first to help put the Tigerhawks up 4-0. It was Russell’s sixth homer of the season, which ranks tied for fifth in 1A.

That was Russell’s only hit, but she scored two runs and had two RBIs. She also walked once.

Wilson had two hits, one walk, scored two runs and drove in three runs. Underwood collected two hits and had two RBIs.

Cunningham had one hit, one walk, two runs and two RBIs and Brown had one hit, one run, one walk and two RBIs.

The Tigerhawks scored four runs in the first, seven in the second and two in the third. Keota is now 0-11 on the season.

Cunningham started in the circle and threw the first two innings, allowing one walk and struck out one. Haley struck out one in her first inning of the season.

Colfax-Mingo 16, English Valleys 3

NORTH ENGLISH — English Valleys scored first on its homefield against Colfax-Mingo during an SICL game on June 12.

But the Tigerhawks took the lead for good in the second inning and drubbed the Bears 16-3.

Russell clubbed a grand slam during a six-run second inning, Rhiannon Haley hit a two-run homer in the fourth and the Tigerhawks piled on seven runs in the seventh inning to complete the victory.

Russell finished with two hits and five RBIs, Haley had two hits, two runs and four RBIs and Underwood drove in two runs with a double in the second and scored twice.

Brown returned to the leadoff spot in the lineup and finished with two RBIs, three runs and two walks. Wilson and Gilkison both scored two runs.

Colfax-Mingo had 10 hits, walked five times and took advantage of four English Valleys errors.

Cunningham claimed the win in the circle. She allowed three runs — two earned — on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks.

Colfax-Mingo 20, Grand View Christian 10

DES MOINES — Colfax-Mingo and Grand View Christian combined for four runs and three hits in their first softball meeting back on May 25.

The two teams went at it again on June 13.

This time, the Tigerhawks and Thunder produced a much different result.

Colfax-Mingo cranked out 21 hits and scored at least two runs in six of the seven innings during a 20-10 nonconference triumph over Grand View Christian.

The two teams combined for 30 runs and 31 hits. The Thunder (11-8) were plagued by five errors.

Six Tigerhawk hitters produced at least two hits.

Alivia Haley led the way, going 5-for-6 with five runs and three RBIs.

Russell and Cunningham both homered in the win. Russell finished with three hits, five runs, three RBIs and two walks, and Cunningham had three hits, two runs and five RBIs.

Wilson and Gilkison each had three hits, too. Wilson scored three runs and Gilkison drove in two runs. Rhiannon Haley had two hits and two RBIs and Brown scored three runs and drove in two runs.

The Tigerhawks smacked two home runs and belted nine doubles. Cunningham, Alivia Haley, Rhiannon Haley and Wilson all doubled twice.

Russell started in the circle and allowed five earned runs on eight hits and walked five in four innings.

Cunningham tossed the final three innings, surrendering five runs — two earned — on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

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