MARSHALLTOWN — Wednesday night was about endurance. Thursday night was about brilliance.
Demi Plathe pitched a no-hitter, and Alicia Crivaro made her a winner with an eighth-inning home run as West Des Moines Dowling outlasted No. 7 Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 2-0, in a Class 4A regional softball final Thursday at Marshalltown High School.
Plathe endured a 16-inning marathon Wednesday, when Dowling beat Marshalltown, 3-2. She wasn’t surprised to get the call again, 21 hours later.
“I’m used to pitching a lot,” she said. “My arm hurts a lot, but I used a lot of Biofreeze, iced it and rested it a lot before the game.”
Dowling (22-17) advances to the next week’s softball tournament at the Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge. The Maroons will face Pleasant Valley (23-20) in the first round at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
It wasn’t as if the J-Hawks (32-8) weren’t making contact. They struck out just once all game, but Plathe induced 12 fly outs and completed eight innings in just 84 pitches.
“We were chasing balls we shouldn’t have,” said Jefferson pitcher Hannah Petersen, who was mighty impressive herself. “We should have made her pitch more, work the count more.”
Petersen allowed six hits. But one of them was a killer.
After Laurie Seidl led off the top of the eighth with a single to right, Crivaro — the No. 9 batter — drove an 0-2 pitch to the opposite field, just over the fence.
“The pitch was probably too good for what the count was,” Petersen said. “I guess the riseball hung a little.”
Jefferson went down in order in the bottom of the eighth, and was beaten in the regional finals for the second straight year. The J-Hawks’ defeat means the Mississippi Valley Conference will not be represented at state for the first time since 1993.
The J-Hawks managed just two baserunners — Kailey Drake walked with one out in the first inning, advanced to second on Petersen’s sacrifice bunt and was stranded there when Dowling right fielder Mackinzie Clair made a diving catch.
The ball didn’t land in Clair’s glove. Instead, it came to rest between her right arm and her body.
“If she doesn’t make that play, we win 1-0,” said Jefferson Coach Larry Niemeyer.
Pinch-hitter Hannah McInerney reached on a two-base error by Clair, who dropped a fly ball on a running attempt in the sixth. Katie Naber was called to pinch-run, and was thrown out at third on the back end of an F-8/8-5 double play.
“We hit the ball, but a lot of it is luck sometimes, where you hit the ball,” Niemeyer said. “Tonight, we hit it at them.”
Dowling got baserunners to second base in the fifth and sixth innings, but not until two outs. Both times, Petersen got out of it.
Petersen struck out six.
West Des Moines Dowling 000 000 02 – 2 6 1
C.R. Jefferson 000 000 00 — 0 0 0
Demi Plathe (W) and Emily Aller. Hannah Petersen (L) and Nicole Marquart. HR — Dowling: Alicia Crivaro.