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Prep softball: Goodwin records 1,000th strikeout

SIGOURNEY — If Carly Goodwin needed a reminder just how close she was to achieving one of her longtime goals, her cousin and starting catcher was right there to remind her in the dugout.

Fittingly, Josephine Moore was the first one to congratulate Goodwin when she struck out Hayden Humphrey in the seventh inning. Sigourney's all-state senior ace pitcher collected her 15th strikeout of the game and 1,000th strikeout of her memorable career.

There was a hug. There was an announcement. There was also still a game to put away against Davis County.

Goodwin went from briefly celebrating a career milestone to facing down the potential tying run in the final inning. Cora Meader popped up to Sigourney shortstop Dani Allar with two on and two out, helping the second-ranked (1A) Savages clinch a 3-0 win over the Mustangs in a battle of 2023 state softball tournament qualifiers at Schafer Field on Tuesday.

"I wasn't too worried about getting back to work after achieving that milestone. I knew I just had to trust my stuff, go out there and do what I had been doing the entire game," Goodwin said. "That's what I did and we got the final out."

Entering the game within striking distance of achieving a career goal, Goodwin and Moore continued to keep track of just how close the Sigourney senior was to finally recording her 1,000th strikeout. Seven strikeouts in the first three innings put Goodwin right on track to reach the milestone against the Mustangs.

After striking out the side in the fourth, Goodwin retired Davis County in order again in the fifth adding two more strikeouts after Ella Day was able to make contact to open the inning, flying out to left field. After setting down Addison McClure to end the sixth, the stage was set for Goodwin to possibly hit 1,000 strikeouts with two in the seventh and final inning.

"I knew where I stood at the beginning of the year and I had a pretty good idea going into the game exactly where I stood and how many strikeouts I needed," Goodwin said. "Josephine and I are always on top of it. We kind of knew what was needed and we kind of planned out what would happen if I got it."

Even without a milestone within reach, Goodwin needed the strikeouts in the seventh to keep Davis County from completing a late rally. Lydia Barker, shut out the Savages on just two hits over the final five innings in the pitching circle, opened the Mustang seventh with a hit bringing the tying run out on deck.

One more base runner would give Davis County a chance to tie the game with one big home run swing. Goodwin rose to the challenge, striking out Halle Husted and Humphrey before putting her hands in the air to call time, bringing Moore out to the circle for a hug as the acknowledgement of the 1,000th career strikeout was announced to the crowd.

"It felt pretty relieving to get that 1,000th strikeout. It's a goal I've been working towards for the past five years," Goodwin said. "There's a lot of hard work that behind those strikeouts. It's a great accomplishment, but we're still just at the beginning of our season. I know there's still a lot left to accomplish."

One of the first things to accomplish was the third win of the season. Day extended the game with a base hit to right center, giving the Mustangs a chance to tie a game in which Sigourney jumped out to a three-run lead after just one inning. Meader swung at the first pitch, lofting a harmless pop up to the infield almost 200 feet shy of the distance needed to clear fence in left to even the score and give Davis County a chance to pull off their biggest win of the young season.

"Other than actually winning the game, we couldn't have done much better," Davis County junior shortstop Cassidy VanLaningham said after going 3-3 against Goodwin on Tuesday. "Our defense was doing well. We didn't commit an error and Lydia pitched one of her best games. We could have done a little better hitting, but we won't face many pitchers that are better than Carly. There were a lot of things that came together for us.

"If we could have strung a few more hits together, it would have been a completely different ballgame. That's something we've been waiting for."

In the end, the first big hit of the game proved to be the game's only big hit. Erin Dawson connected on the first of her two hits off Barker in the contest in the very first inning, driving in the first two runs of the game for Sigourney.

"It takes a lot of pressure of when you can put those first runs of the game on the scoreboard," Dawson said. "I'm glad I could take that pressure off the rest of my teammates. It was one simple hit that I could get that really did a lot to help the team."

Davis County (0-3) returns home to host No. 15 (3A) Albia in South Central Conference action on Thursday. After returning to South Iowa Cedar League action on Wednesday at Iowa Valley, second-ranked (1A) Sigourney (2-1) returns home to host English Valleys on Thursday in an SICL game that was originally rained out last Friday.