WEBSTER CITY - There is no statistical category for almost home runs, something Erin Anderson is all too familiar with.
She's watched her Webster City teammates belt 19 dingers this season, and she would love nothing more than to help add to that total. All she needs now is for the ball to cooperate, and if the foul pole could be moved two feet to the right that would be a big help, too.
With the bases loaded, the southpaw launched another ball into orbit during the third inning at Lynx Field Friday night, but what looked like a sure-fire grand slam when it left the bat landed two paces foul. It was the third time she's sent a shot to the exact spot this season.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS center fielder Kaylee Schnathorst and shortstop Hannah Myers (11) narrowly avoid a collision on a shallow blooper into center against Algona Bishop Garrigan on Friday. The 15th-ranked (Class 4A) Lynx claimed a 6-0 shutout win.
"I've had three of those now and it's so disappointing," Anderson, a senior, said. "It's hard because in both games it's been windy and I've tried to set my feet to take it to center field, but it hasn't worked out yet."
The 15th-ranked (Class 4A) and North Central Conference leading Lynx (17-6, 11-1 NCC) were just fine without the long ball in the gusty conditions though, as they plated two runs in the second, third and sixth innings to dominate Algona Bishop Garrigan, 6-0. The Golden Bears (11-8, 8-3 NCC) took the field looking to jump into second place in the team standings, but they had no chance against WCHS senior all-state pitcher Kaitlyn Biere.
Biere gave us just three bloop base hits and fanned six en route to the shutout victory - the 90th of her career. She lowered her NCC-leading earned run average to 0.38 and increased her strikeout total to 88 in 12 league contests.
WEBSTER CITY 6, BISHOP GARRIGAN 0
Friday at Webster City
Bishop Garrigan000 000 0-0 3 1
Webster City022 002 x-6 7 2
Kristin Condoleon and Kara Eischen. Kaitlyn Biere and Maddie Anderson. W-Biere. L-Condoleon. 2B-WC: Anderson. RBI-WC: Kaylee Schnathorst, Tiffany Constable, Hannah Myers, Allie Flaws.
Garrigan No. 9 hitter Nicole Zeimet was 2-for-2, but the rest of the team went just 1-for-23. The top four batters in the order were 0-for-12.
Biere had her change-up working and used it to sit down three batters on called third strikes.
"That's my favorite pitch," Biere said of the change-up. "It's huge and it completely changes my game. If it's on I can throw it whenever I want."
Biere has done the math; she knows how many games she has left and knows what she needs to do to become just the third WCHS pitcher to reach 100 victories. She admits it would be a nice feather in her cap, but it's not her main motivation.
"It would be awesome to get 100 wins, but no matter what I'm going next year to play Division I softball (at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne), so I've still had a good career no matter if I make 100 or not," she said. "I'm more concerned about the team right now and getting that conference championship."
Biere went 2-for-4 at the dish, part of the Lynx seven-hit attack off Garrigan hurler Kristin Condoleon. Only a strong wind blowing in from left field prevented her from smacking her 10th home run of the season; her third-inning shot bounced off the fence in left for a long single. Biere and Tiffany Constable, who had singled one batter earlier, eventually scored on a Garrigan error to give WCHS a 4-0 lead.
Kaylee Schnathorst and Constable delivered back-to-back RBI base knocks in the sixth to turn out the lights on Garrigan. Constable also finished 2-for-4; Schnathorst was 1-for-3.
Maddie Anderson led off the second inning with a double into the gap in right-center and courtesy runner Molly Gilbert scored the first run of the game two batters later on a suicide squeeze bunt by Hannah Myers. Myers reached base and eventually scored on an infield single by Allie Flaws to stake WCHS to an early 2-0 advantage.
"We haven't used (small ball) a lot this year, but we had some speed on the bases and a good bunter up to bat (Myers), so it was a good time to do it," WCHS head coach Jess Howard said.
WCHS finished a stressful conference week at 3-1; its only loss came to No. 4 (2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond on Monday. The two teams share the top spot in the standings and they'll meet again on Wednesday at Lynx Field.
"(This) week is a big week too because we have St. Ed's again," Biere said. "That's going to be a battle."
Erin Anderson says a potential league crown isn't a popular discussion right now though.
"We're just out there playing for fun," she said. "We don't talk about it."