Win over South Tama at Washington salvages week

Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

A win in the second game of the Washington, Iowa tournament salvaged an otherwise difficult week for the Monticello varsity softball team last week. 


Monticello (4-9, 9-15) opened last week’s play with a pair of home losses to Anamosa, which started the week ranked 12th in the state in Class 3A and by week’s end had moved up to ninth. 


The Blue Raiders won 5-0 and 11-8. In the first game, Anamosa held just a 1-0 lead through five innings, before scoring a single run in the sixth and three more in the seventh. Monticello was held to five hits in the first game, including a 2-for-3 night for Reese Cox and a double by Maddie Fellinger. Jaelynn Kraus pitched all seven innings and was saddled with the loss. 


“We’ve gotten really good pitching, really good defense and we’ve communicated well, but our problem all year long has been getting that meaningful hit,” Monticello coach Bret McDonald said. “That’s something we have to get better at.” 


The key to the second game was a seven-run fifth inning for Anamosa in the top of the fifth, giving the Blue Raiders a 10-1 lead. Monticello battled back, scoring two runs in the fifth, two in the six and three in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t catch up. Aitchison hit a two-run double as part of that seventh inning. 


Lainy Fellinger and McDonald had two hits apiece, with each hitting a double. Cox was the starting pitcher, taking the loss, and was relieved by Aitchison and Kraus. 


The Panthers had another River Valley Conference game June 20 in Durant, and lost 5-0. Monticello had just one hit in the game, a double by Sydney Hansen. The teams were scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when the Wildcats tallied twice. Durant added three more in the bottom of the sixth. 


“Our defense played really well, and we had some baserunners,” coach McDonald said. “We just couldn’t string multiple hits together.” 


On June 22, the Panthers traveled to Washington, Iowa for a four-team tournament, where Monticello lost 5-4 to Washington and defeated South Tama 5-3. 

Against Washington, Monticello jumped to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Washington scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to tie it, and each team scored in the seventh inning. 


The Panthers got out of a jam in that inning, as Washington had one out and the bases loaded. Pitcher Kraus fielded a grounder, fired home to Lainy Fellinger for a forceout, and she relayed to Jordan Kuper at first base for an inning-ending double play. 


The teams went to international rule for extra innings, in which each batting team starts with a runner on second base. Monticello was unable to score in the eighth and ninth innings, and Washington brought home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. 


Cox batted 3-for-5, and Aspen Gillmore was 2-for-4. Aitchison drove in two runs. Kraus and Kuper hit doubles. 


Monticello bounced back to beat South Tama. A three-run second inning gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead, and Monti extended it to 5-1 before South Tama rallied for two in the top of the seventh. 


Kraus went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Kuper was 2-for-2, Cox 2-for 3, and McDonald 2-for-4. Maddie Fellinger hit a double. 


Aitchison pitched for the win, allowing five hits and striking out six. 


“Jaelyn did a good job on the mound,” the coach said. 


West Delaware Inv. 

The previous week, the Panthers competed in the West Delaware Invitational, winning two of four games June 14-15. 


Monticello lost its first two games, 9-6 in nine innings to Lansing Kee and 4-0 to Edgewood-Colesburg, both on June 14. In the game against Kee, Monticello rallied from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Each team scored a run in the eighth, but Kee scored four times in the top of the ninth to pick up the win.


The Panthers had 10 hits, with Jaelynn Kraus going 2-for-4 with two doubles, while Tori McDonald and Jordan Kuper also went 2-fo-4. Kraus pitched and took the loss.


Monticello had just one hit in the Ed-Co game, a double by Hansen. Reese Cox pitched, allowing three earned runs on eight hits, and took the loss.


Monticello's fortunes improved June 15, with a 2-1 win over Crestwood and a 5-4, eight-inning decision against North Fayette Valley. Against Crestwood, Jaelyn Aitchison pitched a three-hitter with three strikeouts to get the win. She also went 3-for-3 at the plate with a double and a stolen base. Sydney Hansen and McDonald had two hits apiece.


The Panthers won the North Fayette Valley game with a walkoff single by Aspen Gillmore with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring Kuper. Monticello did hold a 4-1 lead heading into the seventh inning before NFV scored three times to tie it, but the Panthers prevailed.


There were 13 Panther hits; Cox went 4-for-4 and stole two bases, McDonald was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and Maddie Fellinger was 2-for-4. Hansen drove in two runs. Aitchison pitched all eight innings for the win, allowing seven hits and striking out six. 



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