Last summer, the Louisa-Muscatine Junior-Senior High School (L&M) softball team made history by competing in and winning their first ever State Tournament. On Monday, July 15th, the team kept their streak going by punching their ticket to the State Tournament for a second year in a row.
A week ago, Monday, the 32-4 Falcons went up against Williamsburg Junior-Senior High School. A difficult pairing, L&M head coach Bryan Butler shared that his team had never faced this opponent before. “We’d never played them before, [so] before the game, another coach and I went and scouted them when they played Solon,” Butler stated.
From his observations, he learned the team had strong players and pitching, and would certainly present a challenge for L&M. “They’re a solid team. They have a very young pitcher (she’s in eighth grade), and she did a very good job.”
In classic fashion, the L&M girls softball team rose to the challenge. In what turned into a pitcher’s duel, the Falcons won the Regional Championship game with a score of 1-0. “It was awesome. I wish we would have gotten more than one run, but one was enough, and we’re happy to be back in the State Tournament,” shared Butler.
L&M pitcher Hailey Sanders had an outstanding outing, striking out an impressive number of batters. Butler elaborated, “A big highlight [was] our pitcher [Sanders] had thirteen strike outs. That was nice for her.”
Now that the L&M girls softball team has secured their Regional Title, their focus has turned to preparing for the State Championship. Butler relishes this opportunity, recalling the magical atmosphere the State Tournament creates for players. “It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It’s an amazing experience for the girls.”
cured their Regional Title, their focus has turned to preparing for the State Championship. Butler relishes this opportunity, recalling the magical atmosphere the State Tournament creates for players. “It’s hard to describe,” he said. “It’s an amazing experience for the girls.”
Along with wonderful team bonding experiences in the dorms of Iowa Central Community College, softball players in the tournament get to play in some of the most competitive and exhilarating high school softball games in the entire country. Butler recalled that when talking to Renee Gilespie, Head Coach of the University of Iowa’s Women’s Softball Team, she told him that, “there’s no state tournament that matches Iowa’s.”
Going into the State Tournament, Butler believes his athletes have a good shot at making it to the finals again this year. He reflected, “I think we’ve got as good a chance as anyone. We have the pitching; we just need to get the bats going. If the girls stay loose and have fun, we have as good a chance of going all the way as anyone.”
The L&M girls softball team will have their first opportunity to show they have what it takes on Tuesday, July 23rd at 11:30 am, when they face Mount Vernon High School. In addition to bringing the skills they learned throughout the season, they will also bring one of their most iconic pieces of gear, their rally caps. “Hopefully, [rally caps are] a tradition we’ll keep every year,” Butler added.