Eight in a row: Central Springs leads wire to wire in regional final victory over Osage | Northern Iowa High School Softball
When BJ Fessler took over as head coach of the Central Springs softball program, he considered the 2022 team the No. 1 team.
It means a lot of things. First team of which he is the head coach; one pitch, one inning and one game at a time.
It also means the Panthers’ current standings and top seed for the Class 2A state tournament next week.
Fueled by a four-run run in the first and Cooper Klaahsen’s dominance once again, top-ranked 2A Central Springs put their foot on the gas pedal and never let go in their 10- 0 in five sets on the 13th rank. Osage Monday night in the regional final at home.
“Every year you start over,” Fessler said. “They’re a really good Osage team and I knew we would have a battle on our hands. You think about the offense all the time and that was great.”
The Panthers make eight straight trips to the Rogers Sports Complex. They will open Tournament 2A as the No. 1 seed and face unseeded, eight-seeded Mount Ayr next Tuesday in the state quarterfinals at 3 p.m.
People also read…
In the regional semifinals, the Raiderettes upset fourth-seeded Interstate 35 and edged West Central Valley 5-1 in the regional final.
“It’s always there in our heads, but it’s always one game at a time,” Klaahsen said.
Central Springs (31-1) didn’t go a full seven innings throughout the playoffs and outscored all three opponents 32-0. He hasn’t allowed a run since the start of the sixth inning against 1A No. 9 Clarksville on June 28.
This defense and Klaahsen in the circle peak at the right time.
“We just need to put everything in place,” said junior Abby Pate.
Klaahsen, a right-hander, faced 44 batters in the regional tournament. She knocked out 33. The only time Osage got a ball that left the infield was in the fourth inning.
“She works and works towards that,” Fessler said. “You have to get four hits to get a run against us, it’s tough.”
Central Springs was gearing up to face Ashley Halbach or Aubrey Chapman or Mari Fox this week. Once he got close to the first pitch, he knew the opponent would be Halbach.
The Green Devils threw her in the first meeting of the regular season and the senior went a full inning and allowed four runs.
“We know her very well because we play travel ball with her,” said senior outfielder Kaylea Fessler. “We thought we had to jump the gun.”
Abby Pate delivered the big hit with a two-run double down the bottom four runs from first. Kaylea Fessler produced an RBI double in the second and third innings while Madisyn Kelley and Ashlyn Hoeft each produced an RBI double.
The Panthers roster had five total hits from No. 9 hitter Carly Ryan and Kaylea Fessler in the No. 1 spot. The latter and Kelley each recorded two RBIs.
“Azaria, Cooper there, but especially Carly, they lead every other team we’ve ever had,” Coach Fessler said. “They’re on base when Kaylea comes back. We do it on purpose.”
Meanwhile, the Green Devils (22-7) were sobbing on the other side of the diamond. Coach Nick Hemann’s team graduated two seniors in Halbach and Maegan Krebsbach.
The two played their last softball games in green and white.
“These girls are creating a culture, a program like no other,” Hemann said. “We trained them extremely hard and it was adopted. Those who bought, they did a great job. That’s all I can ask for.”
Hemann took over in February and sold Osage on a vision. He obtained the program of a regional final. He will be in Class 3A next summer with aspirations to enter Fort Dodge.
“It would have been very easy for them to waver the other way and they didn’t,” he said. “They are great girls.”
Central Springs will celebrate another regional title, but it won’t last long. He will reset before returning to the state tournament for the opener next week.
And try to finish the job of a state title.
“Our temper for this is not over yet,” said Kaylea Fessler.
Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Contact him by email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @zach_martin95.