Earlham rallies from 10-3 deficit to knock off Hawks in 2A regional

Cardinals reel off 10 runs in fifth inning; Swenson rips three hits, Ratzke drives in four runs in loss

EARLHAM — A season filled with missed opportunities ended with one final heartbreak for the South Hamilton softball team here Tuesday night.

The Hawks had 15th-ranked Earlham right where they wanted it in the Class 2A Region 3 quarterfinal game. And then all heck broke loose.

Trailing 10-3 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, Earlham (26-11) unleashed a 10-run explosion to take the lead for good in a 13-10 victory over South Hamilton (11-16). The Cardinals advanced to Friday’s regional semifinal against Ogden, while the Hawks were left trying to figure out what happened.

“I think this game was a microcosm of the entire season,” South Hamilton head coach Harry McMaken said. “We played really well for a while, but then we took a few steps back. We had one bad inning where the wheels fell off and then we just couldn’t get it back.”

Earlham sent 14 batters to the plate and smacked six hits during the marathon fifth frame. But South Hamilton didn’t do itself any favors with all four of its errors during the flurry.

The defensive miscues led to nine of Earlham’s runs being unearned against Hawks’ right-handed pitcher Katie Johnson.

“It was just one of those situations where one play could have ended the game for us,” McMaken said. “But we let the wheels fall off the bus and let them back in.”

Earlham touched Johnson for 13 hits. South Hamilton finished with 12 hits and ran Cardinals’ starter Kelsey Tibbs out of the circle in the fourth inning. Madeline Janssen picked up the win in relief.

The Hawks built their seven-run lead by scoring two runs in the first inning, two more in the second, one in the fourth and five in the fifth.

The bottom of the order produced all night for South Hamilton. Jessi Harms, Leah Jacoby and Taylor Ratzke went a combined 6 for 12 with four of the team’s five doubles. Harms found the gap twice and Ratzke drove in a game-high four runs.

Krista Swenson went 3 for 3 with two RBIs in the loss. Marla Grubb also doubled and drove in a run. Lily Skartvedt added two RBIs and Breanne Diersen had one.

South Hamilton’s five-run top of the fifth included a RBI single by Swenson, a two-RBI knock by Skartvedt and then a two-run double to center by Ratzke.

Alli Boyle, Cameryn Caskey, Taylor Hipsley and Lizzy Arnburg all had two hits for Earlham.

Earlham 13, S. Hamilton 10

Class 2A Region 3 Quarterfinal

Tuesday at Earlham

SH 220 1 50 0 — 10 12 4

Earl 111 0(10)0 x — 13 13 2

Katie Johnson and Hailey Diersen. Kelsey Tibbs, Madeline Janssen (4) and Alli Boyle. W — Janssen. L — Johnson. 2B — SH: Jessi Harms (2), Marla Grubb, Leah Jacoby, Taylor Ratzke; EARL: Boyle, Allison Beatty, Lizzy Arnburg. Multiple hits — SH: Krista Swenson (3), Harms, Jacoby, Ratzke; EARL: Boyle, Arnburg, Cameryn Caskey, Taylor Hipsley. RBI — SH: Ratzke (4), Swenson (2), Lily Skartvedt (2), Grubb, Breanne Diersen; EARL: Boyle (3), Hipsley (3), Katelynn Voss (3), Caskey, Beatty, Arnburg, Emma Jensen.