Volkmann Ks 19 (NINETEEN!), Hawks roll
JEWELL — The best seat in the house Wednesday evening belonged to Breanne Diersen. Crouched behind the plate, she saw all the movement, as well as all of the swings and misses.
A whopping 57 swings and misses, to be exact.
Diersen, South Hamilton’s senior catcher, marveled at what her battery mate Taylor Volkmann was able to accomplish in the Hawks’ Class 2A Region 1 quarterfinal against Madrid at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex. Mixing in filthy riseballs and screwballs, Volkmann struck out what is believed to be a single-game school record 19 batters in a 5-0 victory over the Tigers.
“She was outstanding, perfect I’d say,” Diersen said of Volkmann, who blushed as she listened to her teammate describe her performance. “We were throwing screwballs and riseballs, but that riseball was our main pitch, it always is.”
It was Volkmann’s seventh double-digit strikeout performance of the season and 12th of her career. It topped her previous career-high of 15 in a win over West Fork on July 5, 2017, during her sophomore season.
Volkmann joined Winfield-Mt. Union’s Madie Anderson and Louisa-Muscatine’s Hailey Sanders for the most strikeouts in a game this season, regardless of class, in the state. Her goal of reaching 160 on the summer was also reached; she takes 166 into tonight’s regional semifinal at third-ranked Jesup (29-9).
Volkmann fanned the side three times and had a stretch of eight consecutive whiffs before Erin O’Neal earned Madrid’s only hit of the game — a bloop single just out of the reach of Hawks’ shortstop Jessi Harms in the fourth inning.
Madrid (12-16) simply couldn’t lay off the riseball, even when Volkmann’s bread and butter pitch hovered around the eyebrows. And just when the Tigers thought they were prepared for it, she would drop in a screwball at the knees.
It really wasn’t fair. And all she could do was shrug and smile after each and every strikeout.
“It was a flat-out awesome performance, an all-state caliber performance,” South Hamilton head coach Harry McMaken said.
South Hamilton (19-9), meanwhile, had no troubles connecting off Madrid hurler Erica Bruns. The Hawks rattled off 12 hits, led by Diersen, Harms, Emma Lewis and Krista Swenson with two each. Cortney Harris, Hailey Diersen and Leah Jacoby all had one.
Harms was the biggest thorn in Bruns’ side. Following a one-out walk, she scored the game’s first run in the second inning on a single by Swenson that got by Madrid center fielder Jadyn Miller and rolled all the way to the fence. Swenson scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly to deep right off the bat of Lily Skartvedt.
Harms opened the fourth by lacing a triple down the line in right and she could have crawled home on an RBI shot to left-center by Swenson.
South Hamilton padded its season with two more runs in the fifth, both driven in by Harms. Lewis and Harris singled and scored when Harms hammered a shot over the head of Miller in center for a double.
“It was a good enough night at the plate, but we’re going to have to pick up our bats a little more (tonight),” McMaken said.
Jesup, which drilled Woodward-Granger 14-1 on Wednesday, will certainly be a handful, particularly for Volkmann. The J-Hawks have scored a 2A-best 392 runs and have reached double digits in 20 of their 38 outings. Four times they’ve exceeded 20 runs.
“I’m excited,” Volkmann said. “The defense always has my back when there are hits, so we’re looking forward to a good game.”
And with Volkmann in the circle, Breanne Diersen likes her team’s chances.
“We’ve heard that they have good hitters, but I don’t think they’ve faced a pitcher like Taylor,” she said.
The winner of tonight’s regional semifinal, which will begin at 7 p.m., will advance to Tuesday’s regional final against either fifth-ranked East Marshall (29-4) or Colfax-Mingo (22-7) at a site to be determined.
South Hamilton 5, Madrid 0
Class 2A Region 1 Quarterfinal
Wednesday at Jewell
Madrid 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
S. Ham 020 120 x — 5 12 0
Erica Bruns and Shelby Raymond. Taylor Volkmann and Breanne Diersen. W — Volkmann. L — E. Bruns. Multiple hits — SH: B. Diersen, Jessi Harms, Krista Swenson. 2B — SH: Harms. 3B — SH: Harms. RBI — SH: Harms (2), Swenson, Lily Skartvedt.