Trojans, Fillies square up at state

Fairfield senior Allison Rebling sports the best earned run average of anybody in the Class 4A tournament, coming into the big dance with a 0.94 ERA. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Bowman)
Fairfield senior Allison Rebling sports the best earned run average of anybody in the Class 4A tournament, coming into the big dance with a 0.94 ERA. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Bowman)

FORT DODGE — Fairfield and Dallas Center-Grimes are no stranger to the big stage. Fairfield will be making its seventh trip to the 2020 state tournament, all under head coach Bob Bradfield, and DC-G will make their 10th appearance, as well as their eighth in the last 10 years.

The Fillies are just five years separated from a state tournament three-peat. DC-G won the Class 4A state tournament in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Head Coach Steve Schlafke is currently the all-time career wins leader in the state of Iowa, with 1,259 victories.

Per usual, both the Trojans and Fillies have a loaded team in 2020. Third-seeded Fairfield has won a ridiculous 22 games in a row to enter the tournament with a 24-1 record, and sixth-seeded DC-G comes in at 19-9 after a grueling regular season schedule.

Fairfield’s strength in the postseason has been its pitching. Senior ace Allison Rebling comes in with a touranment-leading 0.94 ERA, the best mark of anyone in the Class 4A field. No other pitcher in the bracket has a sub-1.00 ERA. Her record in the pitcher’s circle is 13-1, and she leads the field with 154 strikeouts.

DC-G has a lethal arm of their own. Senior Lani Gannon comes into the game with a 13-3 record and a 1.64 ERA. Gannon’s ERA is fifth-best among pitchers in the Class 4A tournament. Gannon has 54 strikeouts on the year, which is also fifth-best in the field.

The Fillies have used both Gannon and fellow senior Riley Hall in the postseason. Hall has a 6-6 record, a 3.34 ERA and 52 strikeouts.

The two squads are the best fielding teams in the entire bracket. Fairfield has the best fielding percentage, at .967, and DC-G is right behind them with a mark of .964.

DC-G has the slightly better batting average of the two teams. The Fillies have a team average of .350, fifth-best of the eight squads in the tournament. Fairfield’s .347 average is seventh-best.

Trojan freshman Coty Engle has the second-best batting average of the entire field, sitting at a red-hot .559. Winterset’s Jena Young, also a freshman, is the only player above Engle in that category. DC-G’s top average goes to eighth-grader Aubrey Johansen, who is hitting .493.

The Trojans have two players in the top five in RBIs. Hannah Simpson’s 33 RBIs are second in the Class 4A field, and Jenna Norris’ 49 RBIs are fourth. Johansen leads the Fillies with 22 RBIs, which is tied with engle and Carlisle senior Kennedy Preston for 11th.

Both teams like to string together hits to get their runs, as opposed to stealing a lot of bases. D-CG is 43-for-45 on stolen base attempts this season, fifth best in the bracket, and Fairfield is at the bottom, going 4-for-4.

When it comes to pure scoring, nobody can keep pace with the Trojans. Fairfield has scored 220 total runs this season, best in the league. In fact, no other Class 4A state tournament team has hit the 200 mark.

Engle and senior Shaylin Drish have scored 39 runs apiece this year, tied for the most in the field. Simpson has come around for 28 runs, which is fifth best. DC-G’s top run-scorer is Elle Nelson, who is ninth in the field with 26 runs.

Fairfield’s usual starting nine is made up of three seniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. DC-G has three seniors in their regular batting order, joined by four juniors, a sophomore and an eighth-grader. When Gannon, another senior, pitches, the Fillies usually use a designated hitter.

The two teams will face off at 5 p.m., on Monday, at Veterans’ Diamond. Top-ranked Carlisle will play eighth-seeded LeMars at 3 p.m., on Kruger Field. North Scott and Charles City will play the four-five game on Iowa Central Field, at 3:30 p.m., and No. 2 West Delaware will face off with seventh-seeded Winterset at 4:30 p.m., on Dodger Diamond.