MASON CITY - The Colo-NESCO softball team managed to hang around against No. 6 Newman Catholic in the Class 1A regional quarterfinals July 3 at Mason City, but the Royals struggled to string hits together in a 7-0 loss.
Pitcher Rylee Purvis threw a solid game and the Royal defense did a quality job behind her to keep Colo-NESCO within striking distance for most of the game. A four-run third by Newman Catholic was the Royals’ only poor stretch on the night.
But Colo-NESCO could only manufacture four hits off Newman Catholic hurler Amara Wolf, finishing the season with a 12-14 record.
Purvis gave up five earned runs on seven hits and three walks with one strikeout, going all seven innings in a losing effort. McKenzie Niemeyer singled and walked; Purvis, Henze and Megan Carlson each picked up a single and Mackenna Ruffcorn drew a walk for the Royals on offense.
Wolf finished with one strikeout and two walks, helping Newman Catholic go to 28-6 on the season. Paige Leininger was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and Peyton Olson 2-for-4 with two runs, a steal and an RBI for the Knights on offense.
Newman Catholic 7, Colo-NESCO 0
CN 000 000 0 - 0 4 NA
NC 104 002 X - 7 7 NA
CN: Rylee Purvis and Chelsea Henze.
NC: Amara Wolf and Macy Alexander.
2B: Alexander, Paige Leininger.
MCCALLSBURG - Colo-NESCO sophomore Rylee Purvis was not ready to finish playing with her senior classmates.
Purvis hit a clutch three-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning and threw a scoreless top half of the seventh to help her team rally from four runs down to knock off West Bend-Mallard, 9-8, in the Class 1A regional first round Monday at McCallsburg.
“I could tell they were starting to get a little frazzled and a little worried,” Purvis said of the Royal senior trio of Chelsea Henze, Mackenna Ruffcorn and Molly Barten. “But all of us, we cannot imagine losing this game because we love playing with them. They’re amazing seniors and we just want to play with them as much as we can.”
Colo-NESCO trailed 8-4 going into the bottom of the sixth.
With one out, Megan Carlson came in to hit for Jenna Banks and picked up a single, and Faith Vincent and McKenzie Niemeyer each drew a walk to load the bases. Banks went back in to run for Carlson as Purvis stepped up to the plate.
Purvis ripped a shot to right field, clearing the bases before being thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple.
“I was thinking in my head I knew I had three of our fastest bases runners on base,” Purvis said. “No matter what, if I get a base hit we’re going to score — two or one. I needed to get a base hit. I got out at third, but I honestly was fine with it because I had a clutch hit and we got our three runs to get us back into this (game).”
In the top of the seventh, the first two West Bend-Mallard batters reached base, but Purvis settled down to force two fly outs to right field and a ground out to second to keep her team within a run going into the bottom of the seventh.
The Royals the used great discipline to wear down Wolverine pitcher Morgan Schmidt.
Chelsea Henze got a leadoff single and then with one out, Claire Skinner singled and Barten was safe on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Carlson drove in the tying run on another fielder’s choice, and with two outs, Faith Vincent walked to load the bases back up.
Niemeyer went up to bat, having already drawn two free passes. With Schmidt constantly getting behind in the count late in the game, Niemeyer was going to force her to throw a perfect strike, but it never came.
Niemeyer walked on four straight pitches to send courtesy runner Jenna Hill home with the winning run.
“She was struggling,” Niemeyer said. “I’d been walking the whole game, so she’d have to pitch it to me. It was really exciting.”
Purvis was the winning pitcher in relief of Ruffcorn, giving up four runs on six hits with two strikeouts and three walks in four innings.
After giving up a three-run homer to West Bend-Mallard’s Anna Ackerman in the fifth inning, Purvis held the Wolverines to just one run over the final two frames to help keep her team in the game.
“It’s just softball,” Purvis said. “You’re going to give up good hits; you just can’t hang your head off of it. I just knew my teammates were behind me and they were going to make more plays because they always do.”
Ruffcorn allowed four runs on eight hits with one strikeout and walk apiece in three innings.
Purvis finished 2-for-4 with a run and three RBIs at the plate. Barten drove in two big runs in the fourth inning with a single and Ruffcorn and Henze smacked back-to-back doubles in the first inning to put the first Royal run on the board.
The win put Colo-NESCO at 12-13. The Royals will face No. 6 Newman Catholic in the 1A quarterfinals tomorrow in Mason City at 7 p.m.
West Bend-Mallard finished 6-16. Ackerman was 3-for-4 with four RBIs and Schmidt gave up nine runs on 10 hits with seven walks and one strikeout in 6 ⅔ innings as the losing pitcher.
Colo-NESCO 9, West Bend-Mallard 8
WBM 211 031 0 - 8 14 1
CN 100 213 2 - 9 10 3
WBM: Morgan Schmidt and Mara Clark.
CN: Mackenna Ruffcorn, Rylee Purvis (4), and Chelsea Henze.
2B: WBM - Tori Fogarty, Kayla Hoskins, Anna Ackerman. CN - Ruffcorn, Purvis, Henze
3B: WBM - Kylee Brosh.
HR: WBM - Ackerman.