Chanute wins wild one over Mustang softball squad

A madcap seventh inning that saw Chanute and Iola combine to score 14 runs ended with the tying runs on base as the Mustangs dropped a 14-11 tiebreaker. Iola resumes play Tuesday at Burlington.

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March 25, 2024 - 2:30 PM

Iola High's Kyndal Bycroft avoids the distraction of a passing Chanute baserunner as the fields the ball Friday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

A funny thing happened on the way to the victory column Friday.

Iola High’s Mustangs were sitting pretty, taking a 7-4 lead into the top of the seventh inning against rival Chanute, when the softball gods decided to make things a little crazy.

By the time the dust settled, both figuratively and literally, Chanute had exploded for 10 runs in  the top of the seventh to lead 14-7.

But Iola didn’t go quietly, instead rallying for four runs of its own, and putting the tying runs on base with two outs.

Alas, the fun ended there. Kyndal Bycroft’s shot back up the middle was snared by Chanute’s pitcher, who recorded the out at first to end the wild and wacky 14-11 victory.

“I was proud of the girls for how we played,” Mustang head coach Chris Weide said. “We just let things snowball in the seventh.”

For much of the afternoon the Mustangs held the upper hand despite the blustery weather. A cold north wind frequently whipped up the infield dirt, prompting fielders to cover their eyes until it subsided.

The Mustangs pounded out 11 hits, including three each from Reese Curry and Zoie Hesse.

Iola High’s Elza Clift winds up to pitch against Chanute Friday.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Elza Clift was able to keep the Blue Comets in check, scattering seven hits over the first six innings, even with a crucial umpire’s call allowing the Blue Comets to pare a 5-2 Iola lead to 5-4 with two outs in the sixth. (More on that later).

But trouble struck in the seventh.

In a jaw-dropping span of four pitches, the Blue Comets had, courtesy of a single and three errors, tied the score with nobody out.

“I think it was a little bit of the pressure, a little bit of the moment,” Weide said. “It was a big game, even though it was only our third game of the year. They got a couple of hits early, and it snowballed.”

Four more fielding errors followed — Iola wound up with eight for the game — and the Mustangs found themselves trailing by a touchdown going into its final at-bat.

Things seemed even more precarious after Bycroft opened the frame with a single, which the Blue Comets turned into a double play on the next pitch.

But Alana Mader, Kinsey Schinstock and Clift each delivered back-to-back-to-back singles for Iola’s eighth run.  

Then, Brooklyn  Holloway’s liner to center field was misplayed by the Blue Comet outfield, allowing two more runs to score. Curry ripped another liner to right to get Holloway home, and suddenly Iola was within three. Hesse and Harper Desmarteau kept the pressure on with two more hits to load the bases before Chanute recorded the final out.

“We could have gone up and taken some cuts, gotten three outs and gone home,” Weide said. “But the girls showed us something.”

Curry’s two-out triple, followed by Hesse’s RBI double pushed Iola ahead, 1-0, after the first inning.

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