FORT DODGE — Perry junior Emma Olejniczak allowed four hits and issued a walk against No. 14 Creston (24-13) in Thursday’s Class 4A Consolation semifinal.
What she did not do was allow a run, and her 16 strikeout showcase was the main reason why. The result was a 6-0 win for No. 15 Perry (25-13), who advanced to the fifth-place game with the win.
Olejniczak’s pitches were as blistering as the noonday sun, as the Panther batters simply could not catch up to her heater (fastball) and were consistently fooled by a breaking pitch which had plenty of movement. Two fly outs to Rachel Kinney in right field, two pop-ups to second baseman Sid Vancil and a ground ball to shortstop Jo Diw accounted for the five non-strikeout outs Perry recorded in the win.
Perry got to Creston pitcher Cali Fogleson right away, as Diw opened the bottom of the first with one of her four hits, with a walk to Vancil putting two runners aboard. Run-scoring singles from Alyssa Kruger and Rachel Kinney followed as Perry grabbed a 2-0 lead.
The Jayettes sealed their first win in state tourney action since 1999 with a four-run fourth inning, which began with Victoria Hegstrom walking and moving to third on a Maddy Jans single. One out later the score changed to 3-0 as Maddie West provided a RBI-single.
Diw singled to center field, and when the ball was misplayed raced to second as both Jans and West scored. Vancil moved Diw to third with a ground out, from where she scored on a Kruger single as the lead swelled to 6-0.
That was more than enough for Olejniczak, who struck out the side in the second, fifth and seventh innings, sat down two batters in the first, third and fourth frames on strikes and had one strikeout in the sixth.
Fogelsong yielded six runs (four earned) on 11 hits and two walks while striking out one in six innings in suffering the loss, which sent Creston into the seventh-place game against Heelan Catholic (Creston would go on to finish seventh in the tournament with a 4-3 win against Heelan).
Josie Sickles and a single and a double for the Panthers, with Lexi Little and Cayla Maitlen also had base hits.
Diw was 4-for-4 with a RBI, with Kruger 2-for-4 while driving in two. Jans had two hits and Olejniczak one, with West and Kinney adding RBI-singles.
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