Norse softball team goes 2-1 at Kiwanis Invitational: R-S tops Nevada, Greene County in HOIC play

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Roland-Story third baseman Lydia Oetker gets ready to tag out Gilbert's Emma Mostek at third in the top of the sixth inning during the Kiwanis Invitational game between the two former Heart of Iowa Conference rivals Saturday in Roland. Gilbert won by a 3-1 score.

The Roland-Story softball team went 2-1 at the Kiwanis Invitational last Thursday and Saturday at the Hennessy Softball Fields in Roland. 

The Norse, ranked 12th in Class 3A, thumped Colo-NESCO by a 15-0 score Thursday and downed Perry by a 5-1 margin in their final game Saturday night. Roland-Story also suffered a 3-1 loss at the hands of Gilbert Saturday afternoon. 

Roland-Story scored 10 runs in the first inning against Colo-NESCO to put the game away early. They added five more in the second and finished with 14 hits in a game where several young players got quality playing time. 

"We have a nice blend between the grades," Roland-Story head coach Amber Doyle said. "The older girls are doing a nice job providing leadership and the young girls are coming in and pushing those girls a little bit. We have options and anytime you have options you've got fight for time and you see them bring their game up. You see a lot of girls doing that right now." 

Sophomore Kayley Birkland is filling in for injured senior Olivia Heithoff at second base. Birkland connected for Roland-Story's first extra-base hit against Colo-NESCO with a two-run double to right field in the first inning to give the Norse a 6-0 lead and break the game open. 

"It was an outside pitch and I had been kind of drilling those in warm-ups," Birkland said. "It's something I've been struggling with all season, but I saw it and said you're going to drive this because this all you've been working on and it felt really good." 

Birkland was 2-for-2 with two runs and RBIs apiece. Macy Friest went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs and Madison Geise 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs. Reagan Faber ended up 1-for-2 with three runs and two RBIs, Reagan Schmitz 1-for-2 with a double and two RBIs, Ally Ringsby 1-for-2 with two runs, Alynn Solberg 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI and Dana Vinson 1-for-1 with one run and RBI apiece. 

After the huge first inning Doyle was comfortable moving starting pitcher Madison Geise to first base and turning things over to sophomore Emma Schnurstein on the mound. 

Sophomore Emma Schnurstein threw two strong innings in relief to help Roland-Story shut out Colo-NESCO, 15-0, at the Kiwanis Invitational Thursday in Roland.

Schnurstein had only thrown three innings also season pitching behind Geise (54 1/3 innings) and senior Dana Vinson (28 2/3). She made the most of her opportunity on Thursday. 

"Following them is amazing because they're both so motivational and positive," Schnurstein said. "Dana was in the dugout tonight and I could always hear being like yeah, let's go! It's amazing filling in behind their pitching leadership because they really helped put our team together." 

Schnurstein retired Colo-NESCO in order in the second inning. In the third inning she showed her mettle and trust in her teammates by working around a leadoff walk and Norse error to keep the Royals off the scoreboard and end the game. 

"I love the team that plays behind me," Schnurstein said. "Our team is really close and we're really good at communication and all of that." 

Walters started the game as the designated hitter, but she later got to replace Friest behind the plate and was able to throw a Royal runner out in the third inning. 

"She's always been a very solid catcher and she did really good," Friest said. "I'm really excited to have her replace me once I leave. These youngsters are stepping into their roles. It's really fun to have them on the team because they bring this kind of light-hearted attitude." 

In the loss to Gilbert the Norse took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning only to see Gilbert’s Halli Nissen hit a three-run homer with two outs in the top of the frame. That ended up being the difference as the Norse bats only mustered one hit over the final two innings – a one-out triple by Walters in the seventh inning. 

Roland-Story second baseman Hayden Walters fields a grounder during the team's 3-1 loss to Gilbert Saturday at the Kiwanis Invitational in Roland.

Geise had shut out Gilbert over the first five innings. But after giving up a leadoff single to Gilbert’s Emma Mostek to start the sixth Doyle brought in Vinson, who retired two batters, but made one wrong pitch against Nissen. 

"That coaching call to make a pitching change (in the sixth inning) when Madison was handling their lineup pretty well — maybe I should've just trusted her and let her finish it out," Doyle said. "But Halli is a good hitter and you just can't give a senior that good of a pitch with runners on." 

Geise came back in to finish the game in the seventh. She didn’t allow a run and gave up just four hits with three strikeouts and no walks. 

Vinson took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in one inning.  

Roland-Story had six hits, but only three after the first inning when it scored its only run. Geise drove in Ringsby in the top of the first after Ringsby hit a leadoff single. Faber, Friest, Birkland and Schmitz each had one hit in the loss. 

The Norse bounced back strong against Perry. They broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with three runs and coasted to victory, improving their season record to 15-5. 

Faber went 2-for-3 with one run and RBI apiece plus three steals against Perry. Solberg was 2-for-2 with a run, Walters doubled and scored, Ringsby had one run and RBI apiece, Friest doubled and Birkland and Geise both knocked in a run. 

Geise went all seven innings against Perry. She allowed one earned run on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks. 

Roland-Story defeated Nevada by a 9-1 score in a Coaches versus Cancer game June 16 at Story City. The Norse broke open a scoreless tie with two runs in the third then added three more in the fourth and two apiece over the next two frames to pull away and improve to 7-1 in the Heart of Iowa Conference. 

Friest went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs and Faber 3-for-4 with a double and a run to help Roland-Story pull off a season sweep over Nevada. Birkland was 2-for-3 with a run, Solberg 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, Ringsby 1-for-3 with two runs and RBIs apiece, Vinson 2-for-4, Walters 1-for-4 with an RBI and Geise 1-for-3. 

Geise gave up two hits and one walk with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 shutout innings as the winning pitcher. Vinson allowed one run on one hit and three walks with one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings. 

Makayla Spaid surrendered four earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and walks apiece in four innings as the losing Nevada pitcher. Sydney Mosinski singled and drove in Lani Khounsourath for the lone Nevada run and Lexie Burlage and Taylor Conrad both singled once for Nevada. 

Roland-Story suffered a 9-0 loss to a Ballard team ranked eighth in 4A June 15 at Roland. The Norse gave up seven runs in the first inning and never recovered, finishing with just two hits. 

Ringsby and Solberg both singled once for Roland-Story against Ballard.  Geise took the loss after surrendering four earned runs on seven hits with one strikeout and no walks in three innings and Vinson threw four innings and allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks with one strikeout. 

Brooklyn Baumgardner struck out 11 batters and walked two going all seven innings as the winning Ballard pitcher. Matty Beerbower homered, doubled and drove in two runs and Molly Houge went 3-for-5 with an RBI at the plate for the Bombers. 

Roland-Story opened the week by sweeping a doubleheader over Greene County at Roland June 14. The Norse won the first game by a 12-4 score and received a forfeit in the second. 

A seven-run third inning was the difference for Roland-Story in the first game.  

Faber was 3-for-4 with a steal and two runs and RBIs apiece and Ringsby finished 2-for-5 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Solberg went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, Walters 1-for-4 with a double and two runs, Friest 1-for-3 with a double and two runs, Vinson 1-for-2 with one run and RBI apiece and Geise 1-for-4 with an RBI. 

Geise allowed three runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings as the winning pitcher. Schnurstein surrendered one run on four hits and one walk with two strikeouts in three innings and Vinson threw 2/3 of a scoreless inning with one strikeout.