Central Lee getting "Hawkish" in SEISC

Lady Hawks hold off West Burlington 9-8 in thriller


DONNELLSON – The Central Lee girls are playing a little "Hawkish" right now.
Whether it’s the regular lineup that includes three girls named Hawk, or a coach named Hawk or the reputation starting to build a reputation as a team of Hawks that you don’t look forward to on the schedule, the Hawks are winning.
The Class 3A No. 15 Central Lee girls softball team has been playing aggressive offensive softball enroute to their 14-4 record, including knocking off formerly ranked West Burlington Notre Dame 9-8 Friday night in Donnellson.
The win was the Hawk's second  one-run win over the Falcons this year. The two are creating a strong rivalry as two of the best softball teams in southeast Iowa and Friday’s game added to the resume.
The Falcons jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings. They put up a run in the first and then scored three more in the top of the second. West Burlington/Notre Dame’s Madelyn Thomas reached on walk to start the inning, then Anna Engberg reached on an error at first Junior Hawk hurler Jayln Hawk got the next two hitters and then went 3-0 to Logan Kelly who sat on the next pitch and drove it over the left field fence down the line for a 4-0 lead. West Burlington would add another run in the top of the third when Thomas singled in Paige Cramer, but was thrown out on a nice relay to second from left field to get Thomas stretching the hit.
Central Lee wouldn’t get on the board until the bottom of the fourth down 5-0. Shanna Buford and Kenna Sandoval hit back-to-back one-out doubles with Sandoval’s driving in two runs. She would come around to score on a passed ball to cut the lead to 5-3 with just one out. Jayln Hawk would get hit by a pitch and Aubree Bunnell would draw walk to put two on. Kamryn Cox would come into pinch run for Hawk and would get to third on a couple passed balls. Sophomore Layla Gonterman then flew out to left center where Engberg threw a strike to get Cox at home on a very close play after tagging up at third for an inning-ending double play.
Head Coach Jason Hawk said he had no hesitation in sending Cox to try and get the Hawks within one.
“I was 100%. It takes a great throw even to be close and she’s fast and one of our better base runners. That’s why she runs for us. She did exactly what she was supposed to do, came back to the bag and be ready for me to tell her to go. It was a bang-bang play, it was a good throw. Anything off one way or another and she’s safe there,” Hawk said.
Jayln Hawk would get the Falcons three-up, three-down in the top of the fifth and Central Lee’s girls went back to work.
Jaliann Hawk singled and Sara Young walked to start the bottom half of the fifth. Both would advance on passed balls before Jaci Hawk would drive one in with a sac fly to right to cut the lead to 5-4. Carlee Pezley stroked an RBI single to shortstop to tie the game. She would steal second and move to third on Shanna Buford’s ground out back to the pitcher and eventually score on another Falcon passed ball to take a 6-5 lead the Hawks would not surrender.
WB/ND would tie things up in the top of the sixth with one out when Tannisyn Christofferson hit a sac fly to left scoring Alexis Brookhiser. Hawk would get Engberg to ground out to Buford at short to end the inning.
Jayln Hawk would walk to start the bottom half and get replaced by Cox on the base paths. After a strikeout, Gonterman would reach on a hard shot back to the pitcher. Cox who got to second on a wild pitch and then swiped third scored on Gonterman’s come-backer. Another single and a couple stolen bases set the stage for Young’s two-run single to center for a 9-6 lead.
West Burlington would score two runs in the top of the seventh but Hawk got the Falcon’s Shona Anderson to pop out to the catcher to end the inning and the game.
Jason Hawk said his niece, Jayln did a nice job of keeping West Burlington’s hitter off balance. Jayln suffered a season-ending elbow injury that has kept her out of the circle for more than a season.
“She doesn’t throw the hardest, but when she gets her spot and then gets her change up over, she can be very hard to hit. She’s very effective that way,” he said.
The junior said it was difficult in the final couple innings, but she had to trust the defense behind her.
“It’s very nerve racking. They’re a very good team and I just had to trust my teammates. I tried to hit my spots and I know they’ll have my back,” Hawk said.
“Coming back this season was a bit more of a challenge. It’s been tough coming back into it without being able to pitch for a whole year and half. Finding my spots and getting my pitches back has been tough.”
The Hawks combined for seven hits in the win. Sandoval and Young both had two RBIs. Hawk’s pitching line was eight runs, three earned, on seven hits striking out three and walking one. She improves to 7-2 on the year with the win.
Coach Hawk said the Hawks slipping into the rankings doesn't matter to him day in and day out but he knows the girls appreciate the recognition.
“To be honest I don’t care about rankings. I like to see the number because it’s good for the girls, but whether your one or 15 you can always get beat by somebody. Last year we went to Iowa City and knocked off Williamsburg, who was No. 1 in the state, so that shows you it doesn’t matter what the ranking is. That’s what somebody thinks you are. You gotta play the game every night.”
Friday’s win gives the Hawks a tie for first place with the Falcons in the SEI Superconference South at 5-1. Their 14-4 record overall is tops in the SEISC. They play six games next week starting with Columbus Junction Monday at home.

Central Lee, girls, softball, Jayln Hawk, win, West Burlington, SEI Superconference, varsity, Hawks, Falcons, Notre Dame, Pen City Current,


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