Iowa Park punches ticket to state tournament with 10-4 win over Argyle

·4 min read

BOWIE – Eric Simmons brought a change of clothes to Thursday’s game against Argyle just in case he was treated to a Gatorade bath.

Argyle made sure that drenching never happened.

Iowa Park’s coach superstitiously left the extra clothing at home Saturday afternoon before the Lady Hawks met the Lady Eagles in Game 3 of the I-4A final.

Then Iowa Park left no doubt it’s the best team in the region. Thanks to a seven-run fourth inning, the Lady Hawks will be returning to Austin after claiming a 10-4 victory.

Iowa Park meets defending Class 4A state champion Liberty in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at McCombs Field in Austin. The other semifinal pits Bullard against Sweeny at 4 p.m. Thursday. The two semifinal winners play for the championship at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Iowa Park celebrates with its Region I-3A final trophy after beating Argyle on Saturday, May 28, 2022, earning a berth to the Class 4A State Tournament.
Iowa Park celebrates with its Region I-3A final trophy after beating Argyle on Saturday, May 28, 2022, earning a berth to the Class 4A State Tournament.

While many felt Iowa Park was a lock to defend its regional title because it returned every starter, Simmons and the Lady Hawks knew that wasn’t the case. That’s why the team mobbed pitcher Abby Dowell after she ended the game with a strikeout.

“It’s never easy. In this game, anybody can be beat at any given time,” Simmons said. “It’s hard work, not just in the season, but in the offseason. It’s hard work a lot of our kids put in, and now they’re reaping the benefits of that.”

Dowell was pulled in Thursday’s Game 2 – a 9-0 setback that was the program’s worst loss in more than three years. But the junior southpaw looked sharp early, retiring nine of the first 10 Argyle batters she faced.

“I just knew we had a fresh start, and I felt good warming up, so I knew I had to go get them the first inning,” Dowell said. “I love this feeling. I love my team and everything about us.”

It was in the bottom of the fourth inning when Argyle took charge in Game 2, and that’s exactly when Iowa Park seized control Saturday. The Lady Hawks’ first nine batters reached base, resulting in seven runs.

The big hit was Cat Prisock’s bases-clearing double, but Gracie Justus and Paige Gallegos also had RBI singles. Argyle didn’t help pitcher Ava Edwards’ cause by committing multiple errors, either.

Iowa Park catcher Paige Gallegos celebrates a called third strike on Argyle's Taylor Platt, securing Iowa Park's 10-4 victory on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Bowie.
Iowa Park catcher Paige Gallegos celebrates a called third strike on Argyle's Taylor Platt, securing Iowa Park's 10-4 victory on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Bowie.

Justus finished with four RBIs, getting Iowa Park off to a 2-0 lead in the second with a bases-loaded single up the middle. The Lady Hawks’ hitting depth is one reason why the team is so difficult to beat.

“That’s what makes us so solid is our lineup is pretty strong from top to bottom,” Simmons said. “If our Nos. 3-4 are struggling, then Nos. 7-8 can pick us up.”

The run support was more than enough for Dowell, who admitting to getting hyped in the fourth as Lady Hawk after Lady Hawk reached base. Iowa Park stranded the bases loaded, or it could have been in a mercy-rule situation.

Argyle scored three times in the sixth behind Oklahoma commit Maya Bland’s double, but Dowell stayed in control, finishing with seven strikeouts and only five hits allowed.

Senior starters Raylea Parsons and Rylee Goins graduated Friday night and then made it an extra-special weekend by winning Saturday’s elimination game.

Iowa Park's Bella Dickens celebrates after Iowa Park's 10-4 victory against Argyle on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Bowie.
Iowa Park's Bella Dickens celebrates after Iowa Park's 10-4 victory against Argyle on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in Bowie.

“Thursday, we didn’t play very well, we weren’t ourselves,” Parsons said. “Whenever we came back here, we were like this is our time, this is our moment to shine. We’re going to finish business once we get to Austin.”

The team’s state hotel reservations were already booked before Game 3. The Lady Hawks ensured no cancellation would be needed behind timely hitting and another Dowell gem.

It was a raucous environment at Lady Rabbit field, and it made for a fun afternoon for Iowa Park faithful.

And a sticky, damp ride back on the bus for Simmons, who got his Gatorade bath after all.

REGION I-4A FINALS  

Iowa Park 10, Argyle 4  

Argyle   000   103   0   -4   5   4

Iowa Park   020   701   x   -10   10   2

W: Abby Dowell. L: Ava Edwards.

2B: (A) Maya Bland; (IP) Paige Gallegos, Raylea Parsons, Cat Prisock; 3B: (A) Keira Inman.

Leading hitters: (A) Taylor Platt 1x2, 2 runs; Bland 1x2, run, 2 RBI; (IP) Gracie Justus 2x3, run, 4 RBI; Isabella Dickens 2x3, run; Gallegos 2x4, 2 runs, RBI.

Top pitchers: (IP) Dowell 7 IP, 4 hits, BB, 4 runs, 3 ER, 7 K.

Note: Iowa Park advances to the 4A state tournament.

This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Iowa Park vs. Argyle softball Game 3 UIL regional final score