FORT DODGE - The race for the North Central Conference softball championship just got a little bit more interesting.
Fourth-ranked (Class 2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond scratched out just two hits last night at the Rogers Sports Complex, but the Gaels forced 14th-ranked (4A) Webster City into four defensive mistakes and pulled out a 4-2 victory.
The two teams now sit tied atop the league standings at 8-1. WCHS (14-6) had outscored its first eight conference opponents by 59 runs, 61-2.
"It just comes down to being able to handle pressure situations," WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. "Hopefully we can learn from the mistakes we made (last night) and not make them again."
St. Edmond (14-3) put up all the runs it would need in the third. The Gaels plated three - all unearned - as the Lynx fumbled the ball on the infield three times.
St. Edmond tacked on its only earned run off WCHS all-state pitcher Kaitlyn Biere in the fourth. Biere finished with six strikeouts and three walks.
ST. EDMOND 4, WEBSTER CITY 2
Monday at Fort Dodge
Webster City000 002 0-2 5 4
St. Edmond003 100 x-4 2 1
Kaitlyn Biere and Maddie Anderson. Katie Donnelly and Maggie Harvey. W-Donnelly. L-Biere. 2B-WC: M. Anderson (2). RBI-WC: M. Anderson (2).
"Biere did a great job of making them hit ground balls," Howard said. "We just had one inning where they took advantage of our mistakes."
Trailing 4-0, the Lynx attempted to rally with two outs in the sixth. Two runners reached base to set the stage for Maddie Anderson, who socked a two-RBI double off Gael hurler Katie Donnelly.
But WCHS went down without inflicting any damage in the seventh.
Anderson accounted for two of the Lynx five hits; both were doubles. Biere, Tiffany Constable and Mikaleh McCoy added singles.
WCHS has no time to stew on the setback, as it must now get ready to tackle ninth-ranked (3A) Iowa Falls-Alden on the road tonight. The Cadets now sit just a game back in the league standings.
"You play too many games to sit and dwell on it," Howard said. "(Tonight) we've got another really good opponent. We've got to come out strong and be aggressive offensively and clean defensively."