Same old Carlisle
No. 3 ’Cats just like past teams:?really good
WEBSTER CITY — Stupid question, but here goes anyway: Do you think Carlisle ever gets bored being this good year after year?
OK, probably not.
This year’s version of the Wildcats’ softball team can hit for power or play small ball. They have speed for days and are aggressive on the base paths. They don’t make mistakes defensively and they have a pitcher that can pile up strikeouts.
In other words, they’re pretty much like almost all of head coach Jim Flaws’ teams during his illustrious Hall of Fame career. In the previous nine seasons, Carlisle has a 313-56 record — an average of 34.8 wins per season. Flaws, a Webster City native, has guided the Wildcats to four state championships, the last in 2010.
Currently ranked third (Class 4A), Carlisle displayed its prowess Friday night at Lynx Field, as it smacked 13 hits and clubbed Webster City, 12-0 in six innings.
Ten different players had at least one hit off Lynx junior right-hander Atlanta Hopp, who went the distance against the potent lineup. And depth? Yeah, the Wildcats have that, too. Their reserves went 5 for 5 at the dish with five RBI.
“They’ve got a real solid team from pitcher to defense to offense,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “They put it together and they’ve got a good package that they come at you with.”
Clean-up stick Meredith Hoffman led Carlisle (14-4) with two hits, including a two-run double to left in the third inning. Natalie McCormick went 2 for 4 right behind her, and Delaney Schnathorst followed with a 2 for 3 evening with a RBI.
The Wildcats scored in each of their six at bats, ignited by a lead-off triple into right-center by Kennedy Preston in the opening frame. That set the tone and they went on to plate two in the second, three in the third, one in the fourth and fifth, and four in the sixth.
But it could have been worse — much worse, in fact — had it not been for a handful of nice defensive plays by the Lynx. Shortstop Taylor McKinney showcased an elite glove, making stops on hard-hit grounders and ropes to both sides, and Carlisle peppered that side of the infield. The Lynx sophomore had it hit her way 15 times, and even when she couldn’t get the out, like in the sixth inning when she made a sliding stab going towards second base and attempted to throw out Natalea Statler from her knees, she gained the attention of her coach.
“McKinney had some great plays at shortstop,” Howard said. “Her footwork is very quick and she covers a lot of ground. She’s doing a great job for us there.”
Left fielder Haley Flaws at her own defensive highlight in the seventh inning when she robbed Payton Kain of a hit in the gap in left-center with a over-the-shoulder catch on the run.
WCHS (5-6) committed five errors, which led to five unearned runs, but Howard still walked off the field enthused about the progress.
“They had four (runs) in one inning, but it didn’t feel like we had that one inning that really got away from us,” she said. “There are obviously some things we have to fix as we progress, but you’ve got to see teams like this to improve.”
The Lynx were unable to apply the pressure with their own bats, however. Carlisle sophomore 6-foot hurler Molly Hoekstra retired the first 11 batters she faced and fanned 11 in the complete-game shutout.
WCHS was behind Hoekstra’s fastball all night. Her riseball and change-up caused fits, too.
“You try and simulate it with the pitching machine, but it’s never the same,” Howard said. “(Hoekstra) does a good job of keeping (the ball) hidden and it’s coming straight from her hip. She’s got that height and she’s got that ability of handing it to the catcher.”
McKinney broke up Hoekstra’s bid for a perfect game with two outs in the fourth when she drilled a shot into right-center for a double. She tried to stretch it into a triple though and got caught in a rundown. She was eventually tagged out by Hoekstra.
Faith Anderson and Haley Flaws added infield base hits in the seventh, but were left stranded at first and second.
“We knew they were going to score runs and we were going to have to score runs to compete with them,” Howard said. “Offensively we obviously struggled, but it’s good to see a pitcher like that when we don’t have anybody that simulates her in our conference.”
WCHS will return to North Central Conference action this evening when it hosts Fort Dodge St. Edmond at 7:30 p.m. The Gaels won the first meeting last month, 8-7.
Carlisle 12, Web City 0 (6 inn.)
Carlisle 123 114 — 12 13 0
Web City 000 000 — 0 3 5
Molly Hoekstra and Kennedy Preston. Atlanta Hopp and Kaitlynn Seeley. W — Hoekstra. L — Hopp. 2B — CAR: Meredith Hoffman, Gracie Reynolds; WC: Taylor McKinney. 3B — CAR: Preston. Multiple hits — CAR: Hoffman, Delaney Schnathorst. RBI — CAR: Hoffman (2), Aubrey Furnal, Schnathorst, Reynolds, Cassie Lee, Natalea Statler, Payton Kain, Megan Sievers.