CEDAR RAPIDS – Hayley Deutmeyer had a good feeling when she started her pre-game routine.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier shortstop took cuts in the batting cage and envisioned a successful night, which ended up being true.
Deutmeyer went 3-for-4, scoring the winning runs in two one-run games as the Saints earned a Mississippi Valley Conference double-header sweep over Linn-Mar Tuesday night at Bob Erusha Field. Xavier won 3-2 and 4-3.
“Before the game, I was feeling like I was going to go in and hit,” Deutmeyer said. “It happen to come out that way.”
Deutmeyer wasted little work contributing, driving in Jenna Schulte in the bottom of the first in the opener to give Xavier a 2-0 lead. Deutmeyer led off the fourth inning with a triple to left center field and scored when Morgan Breitbach reached on an infield error to cap the scoring.
The Saints sophomore went 2-for-2 in the first game, adding a sacrifice, and continue the success in the nightcap. She went 1-for-2 with a walk and scored two runs.
“I felt good in the batter’s box,” Deutmeyer said. “I was confident tonight.”
Deutmeyer sparked the rally in the bottom of the sixth in the second game. She led off with a single, advanced to second on Breitbach’s sacrifice and scored on Courtney Colston’s base hit. She also played solid defense in the field, helping thwart some Linn-Mar scoring threats.
“Haley had a great game,” Interim head coach Nikki Price said. “She has really come on. There were some plays right now she made some plays that at the beginning of the year she didn’t.”
“She’s developing into a solid kid on offense and defense.”
Sydney Galligan had three hits in the nightcap, scoring twice for the Saints. Allison Schwach and Erica Miller each had two hits over the double-header for Xavier. It was an example of the Saints timely hitting and defense.
“They got out of some real tough situations,” Price said. “They played well. They got the defensive plays when they needed them. We got some key base hits and sacrifice flies to get a couple runs in. They did exactly what we needed when we needed them to do it.”
The Lions (18-17, 11-11) didn’t have the same luck. Errors offensively and defensively sunk their effort.
“I feel like we didn’t execute offensively in game one,” Linn-Mar Coach Jon Harms said. “Defensively in both games we had lapses and errors that led to runs. There’s such a fine line to walk, so to speak, it hurts. In close games, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes. Physical and mental mistakes that we did tonight and that was the difference of the two games.”
In the nightcap, the Linn-Mar bats came alive. Maddy Ryan belted a two-run home run in the fourth, scoring Alexis Kelsey, to tie the game, 2-2. Kortlan Ollinger, who had two hits, nailed a solo home run to give the Lions a 3-2 lead before the Saints answered in the sixth.
Deutmeyer said the team was determined to earn the sweep after splitting with a number of opponents this season, which opened roughly. Now, the Saints appear to be hitting their stride. They improved to 18-12 overall and 12-10 in the MVC, receiving wins from pitchers Jacey Wiebold and Erin Drahozal.
“They’re really starting to gel well and play together with confidence, and realty putting things together at the right part of the season,” Price said. “I’d rather have us gelling now than gelling at the beginning and going backward.”
One strong influence is the return of head coach Brian Erbe, who has been away from the team officially after suffering a heart attack at the start of the season. Erbe is now on the bench, but Price continues to be the lead coach during competition.
The players, who have persevered earlier injuries, welcome Erbe’s presence.
“He’s a big impact on how we play and what we do, because he has always been there for us,” Deutmeyer said.
Price said Erbe has made a strong impact and his return has been positive for the team.
“He talks to the kids about certain things in the dugout,” Price said. “He’s an extra coach in the dugout when we’re on offense and has eye-to-eye conversations with them when I can’t.”