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  • Val T.

Ball goes far, team goes far:

Scales, Mollenkopf go back-to-back twice, lead Caston to first regional title


7 different players have RBI in rout of Fremont


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


The Caston softball team defeated Fremont 20-1 in five innings in a Class 1A regional game at Fremont’s Vistula Park Tuesday. The regional title is the first in school history in any sport. The No. 7 Lady Comets improved to 20-4 and will play Kouts in a Class 1A Frankfort semistate semifinal at 11 a.m. Saturday. (photo provided by Dee Brown/RTC)


FREMONT — “We didn’t come this far just to come this far,” a car on the softball caravan said on the approximately 125-mile trip from Caston High School to Fremont’s Vistula Park Tuesday.

Caston’s Isabel Scales went 5 for 5 with six RBIs and four runs scored in her team’s 20-1 win in five innings over host Fremont in a Class 1A regional Tuesday. Scales hit two homers for the game and now has 14 for the season. (photo provided by Dee Brown/RTC)

And because Isabel Scales and Kinzie Mollenkopf hit the ball very far, the Lady Comets made their fans’ long journey worth it.

Next stop for the caravan: Frankfort for the semistate.

Scales and Mollenkopf hit back-to-back homers in both the first and second innings, shellshocking Fremont 20-1 in five innings in a Class 1A regional.

No. 7 Caston improved to 20-4 and will play unranked Kouts in a semistate semifinal at Frankfort at 11 a.m. Saturday. No. 5 Rossville and No. 4 Cowan will meet in the second semifinal at approximately 1 p.m., and the winners return at 7 p.m. for a trip to the state finals.

The regional title for Caston comes five days after their first ever sectional. In fact, it’s the first regional for Caston in any sport in school history.

The bus ride home stopped in Twelve Mile before a tour of Fulton.

Mollenkopf pitched the first four innings before Addison Zimpleman pitched a scoreless fifth. The game ended when Fremont’s Myleigh Carper grounded to Mollenkopf, now playing second base, who threw to Annie Harsh to set off a celebration in the middle of the diamond.

“Unreal,” Scales said. “Just a week ago, we were dreaming for our first goal, which was sectionals,” Scales said. “And then we just got this extra gravy on top, and we’re just going to keep rolling until somebody stops us.”

Scales said the team is “lasered in” right now. She said with about 30 minutes to go in the bus ride, the team started a team sing-along. Taylor Swift’s song “22” is a popular favorite, and some players began to sing it again as they headed back on the bus for the ride home.

“Right now it’s just kind of the feeling that we’re playing as a family,” Mollenkopf said. “We just want to make this run as long as we can.”

Six different Caston players had multi-hit games, and seven different Caston players had an RBI.

Caston freshman Kylee Logan slides home safely after scoring on a wild pitch in the first inning of Tuesday’s Class 1A regional against Fremont. Caston won 20-1 in five innings for the first regional title in school history in any sport. (photo provided by Dee Brown/RTC)

Scales punished Fremont pitchers Claire Foulk and Khloe Glendening, going 5 for 5 with six RBIs and four runs scored. Zimpleman had three hits and three RBIs, and Mollenkopf had two hits and three RBIs.

Anticipating slower-than-normal speed from Foulk and Glendening, Scales had a batting practice session with private hitting coach Abbie Overmyer Monday night where Overmyer threw slower pitches and Scales worked on her timing.

“I just felt something tonight,” Scales said. “I don’t know. I was just so excited for this game. I couldn’t contain myself on the bus. I don’t know. I just wanted to go out here and do my best, and it showed, I guess.”

Kylee Logan and Macee Hinderlider each had two hits and an RBI, and Haley Logan had two hits and two runs scored.

Annie Harsh and Bailey Harness each had a hit and an RBI, and Myli Rude also drove in a run.

“I’m just as excited as hell for them,” Caston coach Jon Burks said of his players. “Just wow. Wow.”

The game delayed by 10 minutes due to summer road construction and a bus pit stop along the way, the Lady Comets came off the bus slugging against Foulk, who had pitched only 10 ⅔ innings all season prior to the regional.

Zimpleman reached on an infield single, and Scales pounded a two-run homer to left-center. Mollenkopf then lined a homer to straightaway center to make it 3-0.

Kylee Logan then singled and stole second and would eventually score on a headfirst slide after a wild pitch.

“We set that pace right off the bat like that, punch them right in the mouth and see how they respond,” Burks said. “That’s what we did. We’ve got those three batters right there in a row, and I mean, it was big. That’s all I want.”

Mollenkopf had a four-run lead before throwing her first pitch, and she started by striking out travel ball teammate Lexi Stevens and Sammy Meyers before getting Carper on a soft liner to short.

In the top of the second, Zimpleman walked but was thrown out trying to steal second by Carper.

Scales then launched a mammoth homer that would have needed a boarding pass if it were hit any farther – 40 feet over the fence before landing on a second adjacent field.

Mollenkopf then hit her second homer to make it 6-0 and end Foulk’s day in the circle.

The home run chain passed quickly from Scales to Mollenkopf.

“Isabel and I kind of made it a competition,” a smiling Mollenkopf said later. “So when she hit her second one, I told her that she wasn’t going to one-up me. And so then I hit another one. She told me that I stole her spotlight, which was OK.”

Caston scored six more times in the third off reliever Glendening. Hinderlider had an RBI single. Zimpleman doubled home a run. Fremont elected to pitch to Scales with first base open and two runners in scoring position, and Scales responded with a two-run single to right-center. Harsh reached on an error, which brought home Mollenkopf. Bailey Harness reached on an infield hit, and when the throw to try and get her at first was wild for an error, Kylee Logan scored.

Caston now led 12-0.

Scales’ fourth hit in as many innings drove home Hinderlider to make it 13-0, and Kylee Logan brought in another run with an infield hit.

Carper’s RBI double in the fourth spoiled Mollenkopf’s shutout bid. Otherwise, Mollenkopf started by retiring the first eight batters, seven on strikeouts. She allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out 10 in four innings.

“She was hitting her spots again,” Burks said of Mollenkopf. “There late, when they started putting the ball in play and the girl (Carper) got the hit to left field, I don’t know if that was starting to wear because of the road lag … but we were planning on using both of them (Mollenkopf and Zimpleman) anyway.”

Caston scored six more runs in the fifth. Zimpleman had a two-run double to left-center to score Avery Baldwin and Hinderlider. Mollenkopf reached on an error on a grounder to short and earned an RBI. Harsh had an RBI single. Harness had an RBI groundout to the pitcher.

“We knew they were going to be big hitters,” Fremont coach Scott Glendening said of Caston. “We knew some of the girls from travel ball. … We knew we had to put the ball in play, which we didn’t do. But they’re a very solid team. Pitching is solid. I would expect to see them at least Final Four. … Hats off to them. They deserved to win today.”

Fremont also committed four of their nine errors in the inning.

“Basically, we told them, ‘Look, she’s not overpowering, but she does throw strikes,’” Burks said of the approach against both Foulk and Glendening. “So we just have got to wait. When I threw BP (batting practice), I didn’t throw as hard as I usually do … and I think that helped out a lot.”

Caston 20, Fremont 1 (5 innings)

Caston 426 26 – 20 18 1

Fremont 000 10 – 1 4 9

WP – Kinzie Mollenkopf (4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)

LP – Claire Foulk (1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K)

2B – Addison Zimpleman 2 (CAS), Myleigh Carper (FRE)

HR – Isabel Scales 2 (CAS), Kinzie Mollenkopf 2 (CAS)





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