WEBSTER CITY - Jess Howard knows that, at some point, her Webster City softball team is going to get the defensive kinks worked out.
She just hopes it happens before the Lynx are out of the running for the North Central Conference championship.
WCHS committed eight errors last night at Lynx Field, which led to six unearned runs and a 7-5 loss to league rival Iowa Falls-Alden. It was the Lynx third straight loss to open the season and they now sit at 0-2 in the NCC heading into tonight's home date with Clarion-Goldfield.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City catcher Kaylee Schnathorst sets to fire the ball to first as second baseman Abbey Fuhs ducks out of the way on a bunt by Iowa Falls-Alden lead-off hitter Brittney Hammond during the first inning of last night’s North Central Conference contest at Lynx Field. WCHS committed eight errors that led to six unearned runs, as the Cadets walked away with a 7-5 victory.
"You don't expect your team to make errors, but I feel that quite a few of the errors are fixable mistakes," Howard said. "We're in the position to make the plays and as long as the effort is there it's easy to fix it with more repetition.
"We've got a young team defensively and each game they're going to have to grow and play a lot older than they are."
The Cadets (4-0, 2-0 NCC) scored two unearned runs in the first inning, two more in the fourth and another two in the fifth. Their only earned run off junior right-handed pitcher Kaitlyn Biere came in the seventh courtesy of doubles by Lindsay Barnhart and Shanaya Schutt.
Iowa Falls-Alden200 220 1-7 5 1
Webster City000 200 3-5 7 8
Lindsay Barnhart and Breanna Keane. Kaitlyn Biere and Kaylee Schnathorst. W-Barnhart. L-Biere. 2B-IF-A: Barnhart, Shanaya Schutt; WCHS: Abbey Fuhs, Biere. 3B-IF-A: Schutt. HR-WCHS: Schnathorst. RBI-IF-A: Schutt (2); WCHS: Erin Anderson (2), Schnathorst (2).
Schutt also laced a RBI triple over the head of WCHS right fielder Hannah Myers in the fifth frame, and she scored moments later on a wild pitch. The two-run surge came after a two-out error and it pushed Iowa Falls-Alden's lead to 6-2.
Biere gave up just five hits in the circle.
WCHS finished with seven hits off Barnhart, which included doubles by Biere and Abbey Fuhs and a two-run home run off the bat of Kaylee Schnathorst.
Schnathorst, a sophomore, turned on a Barnhart offering in the bottom of the seventh and sent it onto the Midget League field well beyond the left-field fence for a two-run jack. It was part of a three-run rally that brought the Lynx within two runs.
"Offensively we really came alive (in the seventh inning) and it was very good to see the girls not give up on the game," Howard said. "Now we just need to do that earlier in the game so we can set the tone, and that will put the other team on their toes."
Erin Anderson accounted for the Lynx first two runs in the fourth inning when she lined a two-RBI single into left. It brought Biere, aboard with a lead-off single, and pinch-runner Kenady Highland to the dish to pull WCHS within 4-2. Highland took over for Mikaleh McCoy after McCoy roped a single to center.
Schnathorst also had a first-inning single to center.
IF-A put the pressure on from its opening at bat, as the game's first three batters - Brittney Hammond, Barnhart and Breanna Keane - all jumped aboard on bunts. The two runs came to the plate on a Delaney Vierkandt liner that the WCHS outfield was unable to corral.
Tonight's contest against the Cowgirls will get underway at 7:30 p.m.