FORT DODGE, Iowa — Everything looked eerily familiar to Treynor.
There were standout fielding plays and dominant pitching. Bunts that sparked the offense. A state championship celebration.
Only this time the second-rated Cardinals were the onlookers after they fell 3-0 to No. 3 Durant in the Iowa Class 2-A state title game Friday afternoon at Rogers Sports Complex. Treynor managed two hits while one shaky inning derailed its chances of defending last year's crown.
“They are on a major hot streak and we weren't able to stop that,” Cardinals coach JoEllen Travis said. “Durant beat us at our own game and played small ball.”
The Wildcats (35-8) kept the pressure on en route to their first girls title in any sport. They broke through in the fourth inning on a suicide squeeze from Jaclyn Ralfs and added two more in the frame on RBI hits by No. 9 hitter Kristin Porstmann and Ashli Williams.
Senior pitcher Paige Compton didn't need anything else. Treynor (30-6) got an infield single from Lexis Rogers in the first and a fifth-inning hit by Mattie Jacobsen, but never put anyone else on base. Only Rogers reached second with two outs before a popout ended the threat.
“I think it would have helped if we got a few more hits,” Rogers said. “I'm happy that we got to play in the championship game. We should be happy for that, but it just stinks to come here and lose and get second.”
Compton finished the season with 27 straight scoreless innings going back to regional action. She had three strikeouts Friday but induced 12 outs through the air against a quick Cardinal group known for pressuring defenses with ground balls.
“We knew that they didn't have super-high batting averages,” Compton said. “I guess I just approached each one like I do kind of every batter, and know that I have to be smart and I have to act like they're the best batter in the world.
“I just knew that if I did my job that Treynor wasn't going to overpower us or anything, so I had to hit my spots.”
Treynor pitcher Madison Keysor mostly matched the effort in the circle, fanning five and leaving eight Wildcats on base. But this time it was Durant coming through with difference-making clutch hits in an inning.
The Cardinals lose four senior starters in catcher Kate Killinger, first baseman Emma Fiene, pitcher Keysor and second baseman Rogers along with reserves Chelsea Cooper and Emmaline McNeal.
Fiene said she'll most remember the unity among teammates. She and 11 other girls slept in the same dorm room all week, for example. At first it was because the air conditioning in another room didn't work. Then it developed into something more fun, with a few dragging in mattresses so they could spend more time together.
“Our mojo has been the same every single game this week,” Fiene said. “We may not be the biggest power-hitting team up here at the tournament, but I think we have a lot more heart than a lot of people.”
The Cards were aiming to join rare company with back-to-back titles. In the true girls major team sports (volleyball, basketball, softball), a western Iowa school has repeated as champion four times. Heelan's volleyball team did it in 2006 and 2007, while basketball squads from Ida Grove (1928 and 1929), Carroll (1996 and 1997) and Underwood (2003 and 2004) also accomplished the feat.
“Being in a championship two years in a row is a special thing that doesn't happen every day,” Travis said. “They'll appreciate and understand that as they get older. The character that these girls have is very strong — they'll be successful.”
Durant, which finished third last year, got hits from five players. Both schools missed on at least a few more with a steady wind blowing in from the outfield.
But unlike much of the regular season, the Cardinals weren't weighed down by expectations Friday, Fiene said. They felt as relaxed as they have all year, despite what the final box score showed.
“We had a target this entire season the size of California,” Fiene said. “Everyone wanted to beat Treynor, not just because we're Treynor but because we were the state champs. We took that and I think we handled it really well. Now to get back here and represent our part of the state means so much to me and my team.”
Durant (35-8)................................. 000 300 0—3 6 0
Treynor (30-6)............................... 000 000 0—0 2 3
W: Paige Compton, 21-5. L: Madison Keysor, 27-4. 2B: D, Kristin Portsmann.
Three Cards on all-tourney team
A trio of Treynor players was honored on the 2-A all-tournament team.
Seniors Keysor and Fiene and junior Jennifer Owens landed on the honorary squad, which was announced following the title game.
Durant pitcher Compton was named captain and joins teammates Kristin Porstmann and Sidney Lilienthal. Other all-tournament selections were Ashley Sicard (AGWSR), Ella Frazier (AGWSR), Kelsey Lough (Jesup), Tessa Clayton (Jesup) and Dana Hustedt (Ridge View).