Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Liberty High has hit the ball well enough this season the Lightning expect to put up runs against any opponent.
Hitting .331 as a team and averaging nearly 6.5 runs per game Liberty High knows on a good night at the plate it is scoring runs in bunches.
Even on its best night the Lightning admit they didn’t expect an offensive explosion like they had on Wednesday.
Liberty High hammered 44 hits and scored 48 runs while sweeping cross-town rival City High in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-divisional doubleheader in Iowa City.
“We’ve definitely been hitting the ball but I didn’t think we’d score runs like that,” Liberty High junior second baseman Brynlee Slockett said. “I would think that 10 runs in a game would be a lot so you never expect to score 20.”
Liberty High (15-10) scored six runs in the top of the first inning on its way to a 23-8 win in game one and never took its foot off the offensive accelerator.
The Lightning capped the doubleheader sweep and won for the ninth time in the last 11 games with a 25-10 win in the nightcap.
Since a 12-11 win at West Des Moines Valley on June 10 the Lightning have scored at least eight runs in six of their last eight games and have six wins in that stretch.
“When we went to West Des Moines Valley that Saturday I felt like we really started to swing it better,” Liberty High coach Mike Morrison said. “We started to hit our stride at the plate then and we are still figuring some things out on the mound and figuring some things out on the bases but right now we have a lineup that we really like so we will stay with it and keep riding it out and see what happens.”
The 23 runs in the opener were a season high for the Lightning, a total that was surpassed just a few hours later in the nightcap.
It was the second time this season Liberty High has scored double figures runs in both games of a doubleheader after putting up 32 runs in a sweep of Cedar Rapids Washington.
“We are working as a team,” Liberty High senior first baseman Haileigh Smith said. “We know that hitting is contagious and our leadoff hitter will get on base and our next person will get on and it just keeps rolling and rolling.”
Liberty High hammered 21 hits and scored in every inning in a 23-8 win in the opener.
The Lightning had nine extra-base hits in game one highlighted by home runs by Ava Tague, Slockett, Mischa Reiners and Ella Kate Fort.
Smith had three hits and drove in four runs while Kelsey Kaut had three hits and drove in three runs and Lucy Maassen had three hits and drove in two runs.
In the opener the bottom four hitters in the Liberty High lineup, Tauge, Fort, Maassen and Kinley Jones went a combined 9-of-14 with 10 runs scored and 10 RBI.
“I think everybody looked at our lineup and looked at one through five and knew the bottom third of our lineup was still figuring it out but those girls have done a really nice job,” Morrison said. “Kinley Jones has been dynamite the last few games, she has stepped up huge. Lucy is coming on and Ella Kate did a nice job so we have a lot of young kids figuring it out. At this point they are no longer freshman and sophomores at this point they’ve had enough at bats to consider them more experience players.”
Liberty High snapped a 2-2 tie in the nightcap with a four-run fourth inning but City High (6-17) didn’t go away.
The Little Hawks cut the lead to 6-4 on a two-run home run by ninth place hitter Mackenzie Brown in the bottom of the inning.
City High then tied the game at 6-6 on a two-run home run by Addyson McKillip in the bottom of the fifth.
Liberty High responded with a seven-run sixth inning that featured a two-run single by Slockett and a two-run home run by Maassen.
“They had some home runs and we had to make sure that we were helping our pitcher,” Slockett said. “We had to keep talking to her and helping her out and once we got in the dugout we knew we had been swinging it well the first game so we knew we could do it we just had to put them together.”
City High attempted to respond as Molly Carlson, Avy Lindsey and Mackenzie Dvorsky hit consecutive home runs.
However, it wasn’t nearly enough against a Liberty High offense that put up 12 runs in its final at bat and finished with 23 hits in the nightcap.
Slockett was 4-for-4 in game two with four RBI while Jones, Kaut and Haley Schroeder all had three hits.
“We have so much confidence in the box right now,” Slockett said. “Once you are hitting it well you are going up there and you know you can get a hit.”
Liberty High 681 26 – 23 21 4
City High 501 02 – 8 4 2
W – Ella Wetjen L – Addyson McKillip
2B – ICL: Kelsey Kaut, Mischa Reiners, Lucy Maassen, Kinley Jones
3B – ICL: Ella Kate Fort
HR – ICL: Ava Tague, Brynlee Slockett, Mischa Reiners, Ella Kate Fort. ICH: Lexi Ellermeier, Mackenzie Dvorsky
Liberty High 101 407 (12) – 25 23 1
City High 011 224 0 – 10 11 1
W – McKenna Kelley L – Lexi Ellermeier
2B – ICL: Brynlee Slockett (2), Mischa Reiners, Haley Schroeder, Kinley Jones, Delaney Ball
HR – ICL: Lucy Maassen. ICH: McKenzie Brown, Addyson McKillip, Mackenzie Dvorsky, Molly Carlson, Avy Lindsey