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This close: Pinch-runner Hannah Kalous was called out at the plate; the Vikettes eventually lost, 5-

The Vinton-Shellsburg High School softball team came literally within an inch of tying the Independence Mustangs in Tuesday's regional softball action.

The Vikettes lost, 5-4, and came within an inch -- or less-- of scoring what would have been the tying run, when pinch-runner Hannah Kalous was thrown out at home plate; the catcher had dropped the ball, but quickly picked it up and tagged her again while blocking home plate. The umpire called the Vikette out, and VS coach Bari Parrot walked out to ask about the call. The umpire pointed to a small pile of dirt to the left of the plate, saying that is where the runner's foot stopped while sliding.

The play enabled the Mustangs to hold on to a 3-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the seventh, Vikette catcher Kathleen Steffen hit a pitch over the center field fence for a two-run homer, her first of the season, cutting the lead to one.

Senior Ashley McKenna, who had given the Vikettes an early lead with a first-inning double to the left field fence, came up with two out and one on. In her second at-bat, McKenna hit a sharp line drive but a diving catch by Mustang shortstop Suzi Grover robbed her of a hit. In her final at-bat as a Vikette, McKenna hit it hard again, but Grover made another solid defensive play to get the force out at second.

The young Vikettes, with just two seniors among them, ended their season with a record of 15-22.

The Vikettes have compiled some impressive stats during the season.

Lead-off batter Sydney Robertson leads the Wamac West conference and is among leaders in all of Class 3A with 30 stolen bases; she attempted 30 steals and was not thrown out in any of them.

Steffen, who had the big hit for the Vikettes on Tuesday, has been much more often on the receiving side of contact with the ball. She is second in all of the state in the hit-by-pitch statistic; it happened 15 times this season.

McKenna and fellow senior Bethany Stainbrook were third and fourth in the conference in RBI.

See game stats HERE.

See more than 100 more photos HERE.



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