Comets rebound to 10-run rule Cadets in second game to salvage DH split
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Comet senior cleanup hitter Ava Ellis didn’t actually hit it over the fence while clubbing a 2-run home run in the first game of Tuesday’s Northeast Iowa Conference softball doubleheader against Crestwood at Comet Field.
Instead, she hit the plastic orange fence topper … but in passing as the ball bounded into the portable chair gallery of fans who set up camp just behind the left-field fence.
Her second HR of the season made Ellis the team’s sole leader in the department, but it couldn’t prevent the Cadets from winning the first game 9-5.
Charles City found itself down 4-2 through two-and-a-half innings in the second game, but rallied with 5 runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good before a 6-run rally in the fifth inning ended the game short of the scheduled seven with a 15-5 final.
The big blow of the third-inning rally was senior Morgan Maloy’s two-out, two-strike 2-run single with the bases loaded which prevented Crestwood from getting out of the jam unscathed.
In the fifth inning with the bases loaded with Comets again, senior left-handed hitter Delaney Ruzicka hit a towering flyball to right-center field. Ruzicka has Charles City’s other HR this season, and it looked as if she was going to match Ellis’s total.
But after a brief downpour that picked the right time to roll through during the intermission between games, there was a thick fog hovering over the diamond that may have dampened and diminished the ball’s flight to keep it in the park.
It also may have disoriented the Cadet outfielder trying to get a bead on the towering flyball and played it into a 3-run triple.
Charles City sophomore Payton Hadley also addled Crestwood’s outfield with a screaming line drive to center field that sailed over the outfielder’s glove giving passage for two more Comets to score during the decisive and game-ending rally.
Earlier in the first game, Hadley was 2 for 4 with an RBI, and junior Alex Wohlers was 2 for 4 for the Comets, who stood at 7-7 overall and 3-5 in the NEIC after the DH split.
Crestwood was 6-7 and 2-3 after Tuesday.
Though big hits contributed toward the Comets’ big innings during the DH, they also were able to get several bunts down while advancing runners — Charles City had struggled laying down sacrifice bunts during the young season.
The bunts were especially effective against the Cadets, who upon fielding them were prone to attempt to cut down the lead runner in favor of getting the easier out. For the most part they were unsuccessful paving the way for big innings for Charles City.
* Down by 2 runs going into their final at-bat, the Class 2A No. 14-ranked Osage Green Devils rallied for 4 runs in the seventh inning to eventually defeat the hosting Comets 10-8 on Thursday.
Charles City (7-8) pounded out 15 hits with Madie Lensing rapping three of them including an RBI-triple and a 2-RBI single.
Delaney Ruzicka had two hits including an RBI-double; and Alex Wohlers, Edie Collins, Payton Hadley and Mya Rimrod each had two hits for the Comets, who travel to Waukon on Friday.
Aubrey Chapman had a 3-run home run and Mari Fox clubbed a solo home run for the Green Devils (12-3).