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Unranked Comets keep rolling with DH sweep of Vikings followed by non-conference win over ranked Saints

Unranked Comets keep rolling with DH sweep of Vikings followed by non-conference win over ranked Saints
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City shortstop Brooklyn Molitor tags out Decorah’s Danika Mueller during a rundown in the first game of Tuesday’s NEIC softball doubleheader. The Comets won both games.

By John Burbridge

DECORAH — Inside-the-park home runs are often subject to interpretation.

But whatever Charles City senior Lauren Staudt hit with two outs in the top of fifth to break a scoreless tie against Decorah in the first game of Tuesday’s Northeast Iowa Conference softball doubleheader, it ignited the Comets’ offense like kerosine thrown on a smoldering campfire.

With runners on second and third, Staudt was unable to put down a pair of safety-squeeze bunt attempts and — with two strikes on her — swung away to drive the ball over the Vikings’ drawn-in outfield all the way to the right-centerfield fence.

After chasing both runners home, Staudt rounded third base and was caught halfway to the plate when Decorah got the ball back to the infield. But when the ball was thrown to third in an attempt to catch Staudt coming back to the base, Staudt broke for home and scored to put the Comets up 3-0.

The “official” scorebook ruling is a 2-RBI triple with a fielder’s choice accounting for the extra base and extra run. But let’s “unofficially” give Staudt a 3-run home run for her first round-tripper of her varsity career.

But there’s a cost for this loose interpretation — though inside-the-park home runs are rare, hitting two triples in a game is, perhaps, even rarer as Staudt otherwise was 3 for 4 for the game with a pair of three-baggers.

The Comets went on to rally for 7 runs after two outs and eventually won 13-0 in six innings.

Charles City continued to hit well in the second game to complete the sweep with a 9-0 victory for its 12th win in a row while improving to 5-0 in the conference.

Senior Keely Collins and junior Payton Hadley each went 2 for 4, and eighth-grade pitcher Addison Ellis struck out 10 while yielding three hits and — to the credit of the Vikings’ patience at the plate — walked two … like hitting two triples in a game, drawing two walks from Ellis in a game seemed to be just as rare as she has only issued seven walks in 13 starts and 87 innings pitched all season while striking out 160 in that span.

Ellis also doubled in the first game, as did senior Alex Wohlers and freshman Edie Collins.

In the second game, Hadley was 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs, and Wohlers doubled and had 3 RBIs.

Ellis struck out 10 and yielded three hits in five innings, and freshman Madison Crooks finished the game by pitching two scoreless and hitless innings of relief while striking out five of the seven batters she faced.

* On Wednesday, Charles City traveled to Saint Ansgar and defeated the Class 1A 15th-ranked Saints 3-1 — by the way, despite winning 13 straight while improving their near-perfect record to 14-1 going into Thursday’s home game against Clear Lake, the Comets remain absent from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union softball rankings among Class 4A schools.

Comet sophomore Addyson Vance had her first varsity multi-hit game while serving as the team’s designated hitter against the Saints.

Ellis had an RBI-double and struck out nine while scattering seven hits in seven innings.

* On Thursday against the CL Lions, the Comets were able to overcome a solo home run hit by Alivia Paine in the first inning, and then get out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth with Ellis striking out two Lions in order on the way to winning 13-1 in four innings.

Virtually every Comet in the lineup contributed to the victory, including Staudt, who had three hits with a double and 2 RBIs; Ellis, who had two hits with a double and 3 RBIs; Edie Collins, who was 2 for 2 with a double and an RBI; and Madison Lensing, who had two RBI singles and reached base all three times with a base on balls.

It was the Comets’ 14th win in a row as well as the second time this season in which they defeated non-conference foe Clear Lake.

The first time was during a triangular tournament Charles City hosted on May 25 with that game also shortened due to the mercy rule (10-0, 6 inn.) which netted Comet coach Brian Bohlen’s 500th career coaching win.

The Comets (15-1) will be back in action next Tuesday (June 18) when they host Waverly-Shell Rock in a NEIC doubleheader.

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