Valley Softball Advances in Class 5A State Tournament
The Valley High School softball team is moving on in the Class 5A Iowa high school state softball tournament.
The fourth-seeded Tigers defeated No. 5 Johnston 2-1 during a 5A quarterfinal Tuesday at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
Valley (32-9) got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the first inning as senior Claire Stalzer and junior Hannah Fry recorded RBI singles.
Johnston (27-11) tallied a run of its own in the top of the third, but Stalzer and the Tiger defense held the Dragon offense at bay the rest of the game. Stalzer struck out seven batters and allowed four hits and four walks in the victory.
The Tigers face top-seeded Pleasant Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals.
Highlights from Tuesday’s game:
Girls State Softball, Valley edges Johnston, 2-1. pic.twitter.com/RWaNBOGlIo
— SoundOFF (@SoundOFF13) July 18, 2018
Tigers win pic.twitter.com/MyAzPrH13O
— Valley Tigers (@vhstigers) July 18, 2018
PREVIOUSLY: In front of a packed home crowd, the Valley High School softball team qualified for the Class 5A Iowa high school state tournament after defeating Ankeny 4-0 on July 10 in a regional final.
This is the 16th time in school history Valley has made it to state, but it’s also the Tigers’ sixth straight berth under head coach Tom Bakey (2013-18). Valley’s most recent state softball championship was in 2010.
The Tigers (31-9) are the No. 4 seed at the state tournament, which lasts July 16-20.
All state tournament games are played at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
Tickets cost $10 per day and are available for purchase online through the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union. Parking is north of the complex and costs $5 per car.
Other teams qualifying for the 5A state softball tournament include: Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Dubuque Hempstead, Fort Dodge, Indianola, Iowa City High, and Pleasant Valley.
Valley’s Path to the State Tourney
Leading up to Valley’s state tournament quarterfinal, the Tigers are currently riding an eight-game winning streak. During regional play, Valley earned a first-round bye. The Tigers then shutout Des Moines Roosevelt 10-0 in the semis and blanked Ankeny in the finals.
As a team offensively, Valley boasts a .328 batting average—ranking seventh in all of 5A. Sophomore Alex Honnold is the team’s top slugger this season, batting .592 with 71 hits, 27 RBI, and 20 doubles. Honnold is also incredibly patient at the plate, having drawn 28 walks.
Other top hitters for the Tigers this year include junior Maggie House (.376, 47 hits, 5 home runs, 36 RBI), sophomore Hailey Etzel (.367, 33 hits, 16 RBI), and senior Claire Stalzer (.333, 40 hits, 4 home runs, 24 RBI).
Stalzer is also the team’s top pitcher, owning a 16-5 record on the season. In 144 1/3 innings, she’s struck out 133 batters and has a 1.55 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .190 against her. During Tuesday’s game vs. Ankeny, she fanned 10 batters and allowed only one hit.
Another pitcher, junior Megan Decker, has also shown strong presence inside the circle. Decker is 10-3 and has hurled 96 innings this season. She owns a 2.55 ERA.
Defensively, the Tigers are one of the best fielding teams headed to the state tournament. Valley has committed just 38 errors this season—fifth-best in 5A.
Highlights from the July 10 victory:
— Andy Garman (@GarmanSports) July 11, 2018