The Kirkwood softball team has to defeat NIACC in two straight games Sunday afternoon or its promising season will be over.
The seventh-ranked Eagles lost to the 20th-ranked Trojans, 6-3, in the winner's bracket finals Saturday in the regional tournament at Kirkwood and are facing an uphill battle on their home field.
If Kirkwood sweeps NIACC on Sunday, the Eagles will advance to the district tournament on Wednesday. If NIACC wins one of the games, the Trojans will keep their season alive.
The first championship game on Sunday is scheduled for noon. If Kirkwood wins that game, they'll play again at 2 p.m. in the double-elimination event. If they lose that game at noon, it's over.
Kirkwood clobbered Ellsworth for the second straight day, 16-2, in the losers bracket finals Saturday and has a 2-1 record for the regional. NIACC is sitting with a 2-0 mark, just one victory away from the title.
Kirkwood swept a doubleheader from NIACC last Sunday in Mason City, 5-3 and 6-4, and now the Eagles have to do it again.
NIACC (30-16) belted three home runs against Kirkwood ace Erin Hocker in the 6-3 victory Saturday with a solo homer, a two-run homer and a three-run homer for all six of its runs.
Kirkwood scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-3 and had the tying run in the on-deck circle, but the game ended on a harmless fly ball to center field.
Bailey Clemens belted a three-run homer against Ellsworth in the losers bracket final Saturday. Shelby Hulsebus, Carter, Jayme Finn, Autum Barthelman, and Jessi Butler had two hits. Hulsebus, Sydney Albaugh, Klaahsen and Barthelman had two RBIs. Barthelman scored three times. Lauren Kuch, Klaahsen and Butler scored twice.
Bradee Bouman (20-6) pitched a complete game for the victory.
Kirkwood enters Sunday's action with a 46-14 record. NIACC is 30-16.
NIACC 002 130 0 - 6 8 1
Kirkwood 000 000 3 - 3 6 1
Hocker and Butler. L - Hocker (24-8). 2B - Carter. RBI - Carter, Finn.
Ellsworth 001 10 - 2 6 x
Kirkwood 093 4x - 16 15 x
Bouman and Barthelman. W - Bouman (20-6). 2B - Jackson, Klaahsen, Ryan. HR - Clemens. RBI - Hulsebus 2, Kuch, Jackson, Albaugh 2, Klaahsen 2, Carter, Barthelman 2, Clemens 3, Ryan. SF - Albaugh. SB - Hulsebus, Carter, Barthelman.