WOODWARD — A win by Woodward-Granger in the first game of their WCC doubleheader Thursday would have forced a winner-take-all showdown with Class 2A No. 9 Van Meter in the nightcap.
The Bulldogs (27-7 overall) made sure the issue was quickly put out of reach with a seven-run first inning en route to an 11-0 victory in five frames. The second game lacked the hoped-for drama, with Van Meter finishing the season 16-0 in WCC play with a 7-2 win. W-G finished their regular season 20-12 and placed second in the league with a 13-3 mark.
Van Meter scored the seven runs in their first at-bat with only two hits, one of them a two-run push bunt from Lizzy Lyon that rolled through an opening on the right side of the defense with just enough pace to elude the fielders and allow two runs to score.
Walks doomed the Hawks, as starter Dalaney Bice struggled to find the strike zone and issued five free passes.
Clearly shell-shocked, W-G managed only singles from Bree Lesch and Meagan Bandstra in the opener, with Miranda Aunspach drawing a walk to account for the only base runners for the Hawks.
Three runs in the top of the third and a final tally in the fifth helped create the early finish.
Bailey Richards struck out six in the win from the ring and received a triple from Meagan Blomgren, and a double and two RBIs from Casey Jamison while driving in two runs with a double of her own.
Bice was charged with seven runs while walking seven and allowing two hits in 1.2 innings. She had one strike out. Riley Jamison relieved and surrendered four runs on seven hits and a walk in 3.1 frames.
Having secured the WCC title, Van Meter decided they may as well finish undefeatedin the conference and did so by scoring twice in the bottom of the second and third innings and then scoring once in each of the next three frames of the nightcap. W-G avoided the shutout by plating two runs in the top of the seventh.
Richards scattered two hits and worked around three walks while striking out seven in four innings for the win. Bailey Harding allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk while fanning one in three innings of relief.
The Bulldog attack was led by Richards, who was 3-for-4 with a double while Lyon finished 2-for-3 and Blomgren added a double.
Bice was 3-for-4 at the dish for W-G, with Carli Major 2-for-3 while Lesch, Bandstra, Maggi Mallon, Aunspach and Jamison each added a base hit. Lesch had a RBI and scored once, with Katelyn Bandstra also scoring.
Bice went two innings and was charged with three runs on two hits and five walks while striking out one. Jamison pitched four innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk.
W-G will host the winner of Tuesday’s South Hamilton vs. South Hardin contest Wednesday at 7 p.m. A win would send W-G to Pella Christian Friday to face either the 10th-ranked Eagles or Madrid. The 2A Region 5 Final will be played Monday at the highest-remaining seed, with defending state champion and fifth-ranked Iowa City Regina the top seed in the top half of the bracket.
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