SIOUX CITY | Having faced Grand View pitcher Claudia Farrell in high school, Emilee Dorpinghaus had somewhat of an advantage.
Dorpinghaus went 3-for-4 with four RBIs while leading the 15th-ranked and second-seeded Morningside softball team to a 9-6 come-from-behind victory in the NAIA Softball Opening Round Monday afternoon at the Jensen Softball Complex.
Dorpinghaus’ two-run double accounted for the first-inning scoring off Farrell, a flame-throwing sophomore who struck out 10, three in an opening frame where she labored through 46 pitches. Dorpinghaus added a solo home run in the fourth, then as one of 11 Mustangs to bat in the seventh, delivered a clutch RBI single that snapped a 6-all tie.
“It was kind of interesting to come back and be able to face her again after three years,” said Dorpinghaus, a junior second baseman who prepped at Ankeny, where she competed against Farrell’s West Des Moines Dowling team in the CIML Conference.
“I’ve hit off her multiple times. She’s a really good pitcher. We got on her.”
Farrell’s third-seeded Vikings had momentum on their side after turning a 4-0 deficit into a sudden two-run advantage after scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Farrell (29-4) went into the top of the seventh retiring four straight batters.
Coach Jessica Jones-Sitzmann’s Mustangs (45-8), who will face fourth-seeded Great Falls (26-18) at 11 o’clock this morning, responded with five runs in the top of the seventh. Starting pitcher Aubrey Voboril, who was replaced by Rachel Henks in the sixth, reappeared to the mound in the seventh to set down each of three batters she faced.
“When it comes down to late innings, the hitters started to see better pitches,” said Jones-Sitzmann. “The pitchers (for 5 ½ innings) were totally in control. We had to be patient. Grand View did a good job too, as far as being patient, but I’m glad we got that last at-bat.”
Voboril, the Great Plains Athletic Conference’s pitcher of the year, had yielded just one hit and entered the bottom of the sixth retiring seven consecutive Vikings. She walked leadoff batter Allie Fitzgerald, who beat the throw to second base after catcher Elin Landgren fielded Dani Hubbard’s tapper.
Henks allowed hits to five of the first six Grand View batters she faced, including Kendra Tott, who drove Fitzgerald home on a bases-loaded single, which was followed by Abbey Wilmes’ grand slam that gave her team a 5-4 lead. Henks struck out Devin Brown but pinch-hitter Kate Crow added a solo homer over the right-field fence.
Landgren was hit by a Farrell pitch with one out in the seventh. Farrell then yielded two straight hits with Landgren scoring on Abby Conner’s single to lift the Mustangs within 6-5.
Farrell, who threw 41 seventh-inning pitches (154 overall), then elected to throw to third base, where Rachel Koch returned to beat Jessica Grochala’s tag on the fielder’s choice that put Allie Martinez aboard to load the bases.
Consecutive RBI singles from McKenzie Anderson and Dorpinghaus gave Morningside the 7-6 lead. Morgan Fogelman struck out, but Mara Amsberry’s two-run single provided insurance runs.
“What a scrappy team Morningside is,” said Grand View Coach Lou A. Yacinich, whose 43-10 team will face top-seeded Campbellsville (48-9) at 1:30 this afternoon.
“They did a great job against Claudia, our best pitcher and they didn’t quit. I didn’t think we quit. They just scored more than we did and that’s how that ended up.”
Koch and Conner each recorded two hits for the Mustangs. Henks (22-4) got credit for the pitching win while Vorboril picked up her fourth save of the season.
“I told our girls to fight,” said Jones-Sitzmann, whose team will face a Great Falls squad that surprised fourth-ranked Campbellsville, 4-1.
“We had to work for a couple of runs. We couldn’t give up. Anybody can do it in our lineup. It was good to see (Dorpinghaus) get hot, another different kid stepping up for us. We really worked in each at-bat and worked to get on and get key hits to get them in.”