High School Softball
By BRANDON HURLEY
MANSON - The Greene County softball team ran up a four spot in the top of the first inning which was enough for junior starter, Hannah Promes, as the ace threw a complete game, two-hitter en route to the Rams’ 6-0 victory over Manson-Northwest Webster Tuesday in Manson.
The win was the Rams’ first in four games and moved them to 9-11 on the year. Greene County fell to Cedar Rapids-Prairie (4-0) and West Marshall (8-4) Saturday and were beat by double-digits at home Monday by South Hamilton (12-1), so a quick turnaround was vital.
“We needed to get back on the winning track. It was good for the team to get a win and feel good about themselves,” Greene County manager, Tom Kennedy said.
Promes struck out four and didn’t allow a walk in seven innings, lowering her ERA to 3.64 and securing her seventh win. The junior did her part at the plate as well, collecting three hits in four at bats while adding an RBI.
“She was really good and had a big night for us,” Kennedy said.
A two-run home run by senior Sydney Koch jump-started a four-run first inning, a lead that was never threatened by the Cougars.
The two squads were scoreless after that until the top of the fourth inning, when the Rams added their final two runs.
“We missed an opportunity in the first inning, we could’ve had even more runs. We had a pop up that got us into a double play,” Kennedy said. “We hit the ball early and hit well through the inning.”
Freshman Megan Carey contributed two hits as well, continuing her scorching hot pace halfway through her 2016 campaign. She leads the Heart of Iowa Conference in batting with a .471 average to go with 33 hits.
As an eighth-grader a season ago, Carey didn’t see any varsity at bats but pinch ran several times.
“I thought she’d really improve. We turned her into a (slap hitter) in the middle of last year and she really picked it up well, and boy, she’s really taken off this year,” Kennedy said of the young center fielder. “I expected she’d improve but not quite as fast as she (has).”
The coaching staff decided to move her to the left side of the plate entering this season as well and play to her slap-hitting abilities.
“She’s naturally a right-hander but she’s picked it up really well,” Kennedy said. “She has great hand-eye coordination and she’s really quick. The combination has been really good.
It’s not an easy transition and she’s done a really good job. Our top two hitters, Charleigh Paup, is naturally a righty and now Megan, have done the same thing. We’ve had good success if you get the right kid to do it.”
As a team, the Rams scattered 10 hits and stole two bases Tuesday.
Greene County was back home Wednesday for a Heart of Iowa Conference tilt with Nevada. The Cubs are the bottom-dwellers of the conference and sit at 2-14 on the year.
The Class 4A regional softball pairings were recently released by the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union. The Rams are slotted in Region 7. They will take on the Perry Bluejays Thursday, July 7 in Perry. The Bluejays are 14-8 on the year. The winner will take on Norwalk Saturday, July 9 in Norwalk.
“We are hoping this win will lead to some positive vibes,” Kennedy said. “We’ve been playing better and I thought we were getting close to making some strides, but then Monday night was a downer. I think we are getting better and hopefully we can finish the year on a strong note.”