Southeast Warren softball third place

(Fort Dodge) -- Alivia Ruble tossed a complete game two-hit shutout, and Southeast Warren snagged a 4-0 rubber match win over Wayne in a Class 1A state third place game on Thursday.

The Warhawks (30-3) finished one of their finest seasons in school history by taking down their Pride of Iowa Conference rival for the second time in three tries this season.

“It’s a good win for our girls,” Coach Cody Reynolds said. “This is the first time our girls have been up here. To play all the way to the third/fourth game is great.”

“This one was huge for us,” sophomore Bre Nolte told KMA Sports. “We’ve battled Wayne for several years, and winning this one means a lot.”

Ruble was granted a lead early on, and she never faced any danger in relinquishing it. Josie Hartman started by reaching on a two-base error, moved up to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Brooklynn Page’s RBI groundout.

It stayed that way into the fifth, and Hartman and Page had their fingers all over that rally, too. Hartman singled, moved to second on a passed ball and then scored on an RBI single from Page. Nolte added a walk, Makayla Ruble singled and Jaycee Neer brought in a run on a fielder’s choice. Natalie Geisler’s bloop single to right completed the scoring in the inning and in the game.

“We preached coming into this tournament we wanted to start up,” Reynolds said. “We wanted to get the momentum and keep it on our side. We kept it all seven innings.”

Ruble made sure of it. The sophomore retired the first nine batters she faced, including six on groundouts. Wayne’s Sterling Berndt broke up the perfect game with a bloop single to right to start the fourth, but Ruble put down the next eight in a row.

It was Berndt that broke that stretch up, too, taking a two-out walk in the sixth inning. That potential rally was quickly snuffed out with Ruble’s sixth strikeout. Finally, in the seventh, Emily Jones doubled with one out for the Falcons, but back-to-back fly outs finished the game and the complete game gem.

“She was unbelievable,” Reynolds said. “I told the team I think that’s the best game she’s pitched all year, and she’s had a lot of good ones. That one there really sticks out. Wayne is a good lineup, and she was hitting about 80-85 percent of everything I called.”

Ruble’s two-hit shutout included six strikeouts, 10 groundouts and five fly outs, including three of those fly outs in the final inning.

The victory marks the 30th of the season for the Warhawks and lands them a third-place finish — their highest since the 1968 state champions. However, it also could mark the beginning of something even bigger with only two seniors — Brooklynn Page and Makayla Ruble — on the roster.

“This helps us a ton,” Nolte said. “We have a lot of young girls, and we get to stay with our team longer. We’re all growing up together.”

The Falcons finish 24-6 and say goodbye to seniors Jaide Harvey, Camryn Jacobsen, Brooklyn Reed and Mya Willey.

View complete video interviews with Coach Reynolds and Nolte below.

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