WEBSTER CITY - The clean-up position in the lineup is usually reserved for someone with power, and Mikaleh McCoy has flexed her muscles on more than one occasion this season.
But her secret - one that's been well hidden throughout her freshman campaign - is she's pretty adept when called on to bunt, too.
The lanky rookie belted a second-inning double to the fence in left-center field that turned into the first run of the game Friday night at Lynx Field, and in the fifth she perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt to score Kaylee Schnathorst with an insurance run in Webster City's 4-2 victory over Algona Bishop Garrigan in North Central Conference play.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS shortstop Kenady Highland (left) looks to turn two as she fires to first after getting the force out at second against Bishop Garrigan on Friday.
McCoy may be young, but she doesn't mind being put in the position of laying a bunt down when a runner is already sprinting towards the plate.
"Squeeze plays are important because they usually don't get that out at home," she said after her 2-for-3 night at the dish. "Even if I can't get to first base, you know you have that run, so it's really important."
WCHS (19-13, 13-4 NCC) played small ball throughout the fifth inning to break up a 2-2 tie. Chelsey Wagoner opened the frame with an infield single, and Schnathorst, Abbey Fuhs and McCoy all squared up and bunted their way aboard to help the Lynx pull in front for good.
Bishop Garrigan000 110 0-2 6 0
Webster City011 020 x-4 8 3
Kristin Condoleon and Kara Eischen. Kaitlyn Biere and Kaylee Schnathorst. W-Biere. L-Condoleon. 2B-BG: Condoleon; WC: Schnathorst, Biere, Mikaleh McCoy. RBI-BG: Condoleon; WC: Biere, McCoy, Abbey Fuhs, Tiffany Constable.
Fuhs' push bunt past the pitching circle brought Wagoner to the plate with the go-ahead run, and two batters later McCoy reached across the dish and dribbled the ball in front of the plate far enough to allow the speedy Schnathorst to slide in safely.
"It was really good to see the girls executing small ball," WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. "In the past, that's what we've used to score a lot of our runs, but we haven't been able to use that as much this year just because we've got so much youth playing.
"(McCoy's) one of our better bunters. This is really her first exposure to varsity hitting, but she's done a great job of watching the ball and she's one that I really trust in that position."
Schnathorst also had two hits - the Lynx finished with eight off Golden Bears' pitcher Kristin Condoleon - including a third-inning one-out double. Two batters later Kaitlyn Biere turned on an inside pitch and ripped it down the left-field line for an RBI double to move WCHS in front 2-0.
Tiffany Constable drove in the first run of the game on an infield single in the second.
Garrigan (14-15, 9-9 NCC) cut its 2-0 deficit in half in the fourth on a two-out RBI double to left by Condoleon. The Golden Bears tied it an inning later on a fielding error.
Biere, a junior right-handed pitcher, was sharp throughout for the Lynx. She gave up six hits and two walks while striking out seven. She retired the final five batters she faced - three on strikes - while dealing with a finger injury.
WCHS will close out the regular season on Monday at Clear Lake. A victory would give the purple and gold sole possession of third-place in the final conference standings.
Iowa Falls-Alden (16-2 NCC) wrapped up the league crown with back-to-back wins over Hampton-Dumont on Friday and Saturday. Fort Dodge St. Edmond (15-3 NCC) finished in the runner-up slot.