Linn fourth in Class 2 softball

Posted 11/1/23

Linn (23-8) lost 8-2 to South Harrison in Friday’s Class 2 third-place game to earn fourth place in the state at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield.

“We didn’t have …

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Linn fourth in Class 2 softball


Linn (23-8) lost 8-2 to South Harrison in Friday’s Class 2 third-place game to earn fourth place in the state at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield.

“We didn’t have the outcome we wanted today, but we had our chances,” said Coach Ryan Rost, his team falling 4-1 to the Chaffee Lady Devils in the semifinal earlier in the day. “In the first game, we had multiple chances where we could have been playing a totally different ballgame and different scenario. But, like I told the girls, this doesn’t take away from anything we did this season. I mean, we had a hell of a season. I couldn’t be more proud of these girls and how far we have come. This is a really special group that has a chance to grow and develop from this, as young as we are. I look for the girls to work really hard this off-season and be hungry at the chance to be back here.”

Linn improved by 10 wins over last year after finishing below .500 for three seasons.

Because of the forecast, Linn played both games on Friday, the third-place game the last of the day in much colder temperatures.

“It’s always tough to get motivated to play for a third-place game, but you try to do your best,” said Rost. “When the temperature drops 30 degrees in a day, it’s tough. It’s still no excuse, and that was one thing I was frustrated with; it played a little more of a factor than I wanted it to with us today. But we still played hard; it just wasn’t what we were hoping for.”

Rost added that playing two games in one day — even at the Final Four — is not a big deal. “These girls play in summer tournaments, four or five games in a day. I don’t think staying around the ballpark all day bothers them. You know, the weather stinks, but outside of that, no excuses.”

Linn committed four errors in the loss, which Rost said was a matter of concentration. “We just didn’t seem to be focused; we weren’t as all-in for that game as we should have been,” he added.

Linn trailed 2-0 in the top of the second. “After South Harrison got that home run, I thought Sophie hung in there pretty well,” said Rost as Voss struck out nine and walked four while allowing seven earned runs on 12 hits in her second complete game of the day. “We didn’t back her up in this game. There were a lot of innings we should’ve gotten out of by making the defensive plays we normally make. South Harrison always found a way to capitalize on our mistakes, and we just gave them too many opportunities to do that. Hats off, though; South Harrison is a great team. They had some great players, and they made it tough on us.”

In the second, Voss hit a lead-off ground ball and reached on an error. Hannah Hackmann (1-3) followed with a single, and a sacrifice bunt by Katlyn Starke (1-3) moved the runners into scoring position. Anna Peters entered the game for Voss and scored on Heslie Higginbotham’s sac fly to plate Linn’s first run.

South Harrison added two runs in the bottom of the second. Ava Warren (2-3) led off the third with a single but was stranded.

Voss got around two singles and a walk, shutting down the next three batters to leave the bases loaded.

South Harrison again had a pair of hits in the fourth, but Voss escaped.

In the fifth, Kiana Hostetler drew a one-out walk, and Warren hit her second single of the game. Both advanced on a wild pitch. Hostetler scored the Lady Wildcats’ second run in the fifth on a steal of home to make it 4-2.

South Harrison added a run in the fifth and three in the sixth to put the game away.

Starke earned a two-out single in the sixth but did not advance.

Following the game, seniors Lily Strope and Starke agreed it was phenomenal to represent Linn at the Final Four.

“I think it shows a lot of growth because we’ve always been a young team,” said Strope. “Even our freshman year, we didn’t have that many seniors. We’ve gained a lot of good players, and it shows that we have the ability to grow no matter the circumstances or the cards we’re dealt.”

Of the South Harrison game, Starke said the team had chances. “I think we should have been able to jump in and get ahead before we fell behind,” she added. “But we never could seem to be selective. I feel if we take away the mental aspect, we had the skill and ability to come back against any team, no matter what.”

They agreed that going into the Final Four as only the third Linn softball team, there was nothing to lose.

“We can say we made it to state, and people are gonna remember that forever,” said Strope.