GILBERT — If Gilbert thought a 12-7 win over then-host Perry early in the season was going to be of significance in Thursday’s Class 4A Region 2 first round contest they were correct.
But likely not in the way the Tiger hopeful expected.
A patient Perry (3-15) offense coaxed seven walks and cashed in when it mattered most to score a 4-0 win over Gilbert (10-9).
The Tigers had scored six runs in the top of the first inning against the Jayettes in their June 16 meeting, the second game of the year for Gilbert and first for Perry. The hosts answered with six runs of their own, but the visitors used a 6-1 run over the final six frames to record the win.
Gilbert had 18 hits in the win, with Lauren Nissen tossing six strong innings of relief. The Tigers entered Thursday’s game with a decided offensive edge, averaging nearly seven runs per outing and having belted 47 extra base hits in 18 games while Perry — playing in the tough Raccoon River Conference — scored less than two runs per game and had just 15 extra base hits.
All of that went out the window Thursday, as Perry forced Nissen to throw far more pitches than in their first meeting. She was struck out nine, but issued seven walks and allowed seven hits.
Her counterpart, Perry sophomore Jayna Kenney, was at her stingiest in the circle. She walked one batter and hit one, but surrendered just three hits in collecting the shut out victory.
Perry had stranded four runners on base — three of them in scoring position — through four innings when Gilbert threatened to be the first to move the run column on the scoreboard.
A one-out hit batsman in the bottom of the fourth put a runner aboard, with an outfield error an out later and a walk combining to load the bases. Kenney then induced a ground ball to second baseman Molly Lutmer, who flipped to shortstop Lydia Olejniczak to retire the side without damage being done.
The Jayettes finally broke through in the fifth, and it was a pair of seniors who stepped up in the big moment.
Olejniczak singled and Kenney walked to put two aboard with one out, with a walk to Macy Killmer filling the bases. Senior Molly Lutmer’s two-run base hit plated Olejncizak and Kenney, and before Nissen could end the threat with a strikeout senior Cassidy Heck had come through with a two-run base knock of her own for a 4-0 Perry lead.
Perry threatened again in the sixth when Taylor Atwell walked and Jasmine Shriver beat out a perfect bunt-single, but three consecutive outs kept the score at 4-0. Peyton Tunink walked after a Heck single in the seventh with two outs, but the Jayettes were guilty of leaving their ninth and 10th runners on base.
The stout Gilbert offense, meanwhile, was going nowhere, with Kenney retiring nine of the last 11 batters she faced to preserve Perry’s first playoff win in three seasons.
Olejniczak had three singles and stole two bases, with Killmer walking three times. Heck had two hits and two RBIs, Lutmer a hit and two RBIs and Shriver a hit. Peyton Tunink drew two walks, Atwell one and Kenney one.
The win moves Perry into a Saturday visit to fifth-rated DC-G (14-7). The game will begin at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to Tuesday’s Regional Final. That game, at a site to be determined, will also start at 7 p.m. and will include either Webster City (7-6) or Ballard (8-7), who defeated Boone (12-8), 5-2 Thursday.