Today the Cardinals were not in a dancing mood after the game at Diamond of Champions.
In what was the "rubber-game" between two excellent teams that had played two 8-inning games earlier in the season the Pumas scored more runs today that both teams had accumulated in 16 innings prior.
The big blast of the game came in the bottom of the first and was a like a "haymaker" delivered in a heavyweight fight. After Holly Lowenberg went down 6-2 Peyton Kingsland got a ball into the outfield for a single and when Brooke Steinhorst followed with a single the stage was set for Peyton Gest.
Columbus pitcher Claire Smedema quickly got ahead in the count and after two pitches she had Gest in a hole with no balls and two strikes. The third pitch got away from Smedema and Gest made her pay when she hit a ball over the leftcenter field fence for a three-run homer. That blast out some wind in the Pumas' sails at thee expense of the Cardinal sails.
Columbus mounted a threat in the top of the third when Alyse Hayes singled for the second time then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error at second base. Lowenberg, in the circle for the Pumas struck out Smedema before walking Peck but coazed a ground ball to Steinhorst at shortstop to get out of the inning.
The Pumas added a bit of salt to the wound when they countered that threat with a run of their own in the bottom of that third inning. Kingsland lined a ball just inside the base at third and sprinted into second with a standup double, her second hit of the game. Steinhorst then hit a hot chopper right back at Smedema's feet that the pitcher knocked down but the ball rolled to the left side where she picked it up and just got Steinhorst at first but the fleet-footed Kingsland wound up standing atop of third with one out. Gest stepped in an hit the first pitch deep into the gap in rightcenter where the rightfielder made a tremendous catch to retire Gest but Kingsland scored easily.
Columbus threatened again in the sixth when Smedema doubled in a no ball, two strike count and when Lowenberg walked the next batter there were no outs. The sophomore righthander got a fly ball right to Allan Borgen in left, struck out the next batter and when Abby Klink made an all-out, running diving catch at the warning track down the rightfield line the inning ended.
The Pumas scored their fifth run in the bottom of the inning when Meister reached on an error at first and moved to second on a fielder[s choice off the bat of Maysa Clemens. She scored when Bogen singled to short centerfield.
Lowenberg picked up the victor allowing no runs, four hits, walked two and struck out nine.
Smedema took the loss allowing 6 hits, walked one and struck out six.
The Pumas now play in the sectional final on Monday at Lake Mills. It will be the third sectional for Kingsland who was a member of the 2018 state championship team while Allan Borgen, Maysa Clemens, Meister and Klink will be in their second sectional.
Game time Monday is 5 PM.