WEBSTER CITY - Trust between a coach and player is a must for success.
Webster City softball coach Jess Howard has the utmost trust in clean-up hitter Mikaleh McCoy, and last night McCoy showed why.
The lanky freshman came up with two crucial hits in pressure situations, as she helped Webster City rally from a two-run deficit to knock off North Central Conference rival Fort Dodge St. Edmond, 3-2 in 9 innings.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Jammed on a pitch, WCHS lead-off hitter Kaylee Schnathorst hits it off the handle of her bat and towards third base in the first inning against St. Edmond last night at Lynx Field. The Lynx won, 3-2.
McCoy roped a RBI single to left field in the fifth inning to trim St. Edmond's lead to 2-1, and in the seventh - when the Lynx were down to their last gasp - she rocked a run-scoring double to the fence in left field off Gaels' ace Katie Donnelly to force extra innings.
And the two hits came on the heels of back-to-back strikeouts by McCoy earlier in the game.
"Mikaleh is one of the best hitters in watching the ball all the time," Howard said. "She's one that I trust to lay down the bunt and one that I trust to put it in play, and after she struck out twice it was good for her not to lose her confidence.
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Katie Donnelly and Jessica Kuebler. Kaitlyn Biere and Kaylee Schnathorst. W-Biere. L-Donnelly. 2B-WC: Mikaleh McCoy. RBIMcCoy (2).
"The Donnelly girl is one of the better pitchers in the conference, so for us to be able to stick with her and keep up with the movement she has on the ball was good for us."
WCHS (10-8, 8-2 NCC), winners of eight consecutive league games, celebrated the marathon victory in the bottom of the ninth when Kaylee Schnathorst raced to the dish with the winning run on a wild pitch.
Schnathorst bunted her way aboard, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Tiffany Constable.
The Lynx finished with eight hits off Donnelly, who beat the purple and gold 5-1 last month, part of an 0-2 conference start for WCHS.
Kaitlyn Biere and Abbey Fuhs both contributed a pair of singles. Kenady Highland also singled.
St. Edmond (9-4, 5-3 NCC) touched Biere for two runs in the top half of the fifth inning, and the Gaels finished with four hits in all. But Biere, a crafty junior right-hander, struck out nine against only two walks.
Howard also couldn't say enough about her defense, which made just two errors and none in the latter innings. A slew of players were in new positions after shortstop Allie Flaws was lost for the season on Saturday to an ankle injury.
"Defensively we really stepped up in those extra innings," Howard said. "It built some confidence for the girls that were in new positions; they came through and really made some big plays."
WCHS will try to make it nine straight NCC triumphs on Wednesday when it plays host to Clear Lake at 7:15 p.m.