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Comets hit back-to-back HRs while recording back-to-back shutout wins against Chickasaws

Comets hit back-to-back HRs while recording back-to-back shutout wins against Chickasaws
Press photo by John Burbridge
From left, Comets Payton Hadley (No. 10), Brooklyn Molitor (No. 12) and Lauren Staudt (No. 4) converge on a short flyball, resulting in contact yet with Molitor gloving the ball for the out during Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep over New Hampton.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — There are moon shots and there are football field shots.

The latter is the prodigious home run standard set by the Charles City Comets … or rather by the Comets’ softball field and where it’s situated within the high school’s athletic complex.

About 75 feet beyond the left-field fence is the fence encircling the football/track field. Hit it beyond that second fence and you’ve gone Bo Jackson.

In the bottom of the sixth inning in what was still a close Game One during Tuesday’s Northeast Iowa Conference softball doubleheader against New Hampton, Charles City junior Payton Hadley launched a pitch by Chickasaw sophomore starter Chloe Weigel into the adjacent field and off the track for a 2-run HR to put the Comets up 4-0.

Senior Keely Collins followed with a solo shot as the Comets hit back-to-back HRs for the first time this season on way to winning the first game 5-0, and then completing the sweep with another shutout win (2-0) in the second game.

Hadley, who has since taken a year-round approach in honing her swing and currently leads the team in RBIs (20) and extra-base hits (9 … 7 2Bs, 2 HRs), also doubled in a run in the first inning, the third of three-straight doubles starting with Addison Ellis and then Alex Wohlers, who doubled home Ellis.

Like Hadley, Collins and Ellis had two hits in the first game.

If the Comets and their ace pitcher Ellis ever get charged with deliberately playing mind games with their opponents … like deviously allowing them to put two runners in scoring position with one or no outs but then repeatedly preventing them from scoring … just to break their spirit and psychological makeup, sign me up as a witness for the prosecution.

After NH leadoff hitter Cora Schwickerath started the game with a single and, one batter later, Caycee Crawford split the outfielders in right-center field with a double, the Chickasaws were in business with runners on second and third with one out.

But Ellis was able to get Jenna Heeren to pop-out before striking out Claire Geerts to send the Chickasaws away scoreless like so many before them.

The Chickasaws threatened again in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third with one out before Crawford was denied of an RBI hit with a leaping snare by Comet shortstop Brooklyn Molitor, and Wohlers was able to field Heeren’s hard-hit hopper at third and throw successfully across the diamond for the 5-3 third-out.

Ellis struck out eight and walked one in six innings, and Madison Crooks pitched a scoreless seventh to close the first game.

Ellis got the complete-game shutout in the second game after scattering three hits, striking out seven, walking one and hitting a batter to improve her pitching record to 18-2.

Ellis also had one of Charles City’s two RBI-singles with Lauren Staudt hitting the other, both during a 2-run bottom of the third.

All three of Charles City’s hits against NH starter Crawford came in order during the said bottom of the third with leadoff hitter Emerson Bohlen starting the mini-rally with a single ahead of Staudt and Ellis.

The wins improved Charles City’s NEIC record to 9-1 which matches Waverly-Shell Rock with both teams atop the conference standings.

* On Thursday, the Comets improved to 20-2 overall with a non-conference 4-0 home win over Waterloo West.

Addison Ellis struck out 11, including the first six Wahawks she faced and eight of the first nine while throwing the one-hit shutout.

Ellis also had a 2-RBI single during a 3-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to cap the score.

Addyson Vance also had an RBI hit during the rally, driving home Brooklyn Molitor, who led off the bottom of the fifth with a double.

The Comets are scheduled to travel south this Saturday to compete in the Rick Doran Classic at the Iowa Hawkeye Softball Complex. They are due to place Class 5A No. 7-ranked Muscatine at 9 a.m. and Bettendorf at 12:30 p.m.

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