ALLEMAN — Collins-Maxwell/Baxter senior Abbey Kahler is saving her best performances of the season for the stretch run.
Kahler twirled her best game of the season in the pitching circle on June 26, shutting down Class 3A North Polk on the road during the Raiders’ 2-0 victory.
Kahler allowed three hits in the shutout, struck out nine and walked none in leading 2A No. 3 CMB to its second straight and final Heart of Iowa Conference title.
The Raiders finished 14-1 in the HOIC. The team’s final conference game against South Hamilton was canceled due to rain and will not be made up.
“Abbey threw probably her best game of the year,” CMB coach Troy Houge said. “It was a pressure filled game and she rose to the occasion.”
Kahler, who had two hits and an RBI at the plate, got some defensive help in the first inning.
Kahler gave CMB a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single in the first. The hit scored junior Katie Camp, who singled and got into scoring position with a stolen base.
Her defense preserved the lead in the bottom half of the inning.
North Polk got a lead-off double. The Comets tried to tie with a single, but the Raiders threw out the runner at home thanks to a great relay throw from Camp in left field to freshman Holly Jessen at third to sophomore Hannah Caple at home.
North Polk (17-12 overall, 11-4 in the HOIC) threatened against Kahler again in the sixth thanks to a CMB error.
With runners on second and third and one out, Kahler threw out a runner at home after fielding a squeeze bunt.
CMB (25-5) added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Caple hit a one-out single and then her courtesy runner, sophomore Emma Husak, scored on an RBI double by her sister, freshman Abby Husak.
Kahler improved her pitching record to 10-5 and she now has 129 strikeouts in 91 1/3 innings. Her season earned run average has dipped below 2.00 for the first time this season.
Abby Husak joined Kahler with two hits and an RBI, and Camp had two hits, one run and one stolen base.
CMB, which continued to play without two starters last week, took an eight-game win streak in the 2A Region 7 tournament.
The Raiders, who are the top seed in the region, hosted the winner between Woodward-Granger and Panorama on July 5. The winner of that game plays either Des Moines Christian or Pleasantville at 7 p.m. on July 7 in Collins.
The regional championship game is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. on July 10. That game will be played at the highest remaining seed.