WEBSTER CITY – Many of the same struggles and inconsistencies that plagued Webster City in late May and early June decided to reappear Wednesday night at Lynx Field.
Head coach Mark Fisher and his players hope those bad habits quickly evaporate again rather than linger.
An inability to throw strikes, defensive bobbles and too many missed opportunities at the plate all played significant roles in a
rough outing, as Clarion-Goldfield-Dows jumped out to a 10-0 lead and then held on for a 10-6 victory – just its second North Central Conference win in 13 outings.
WCHS won the first meeting between the two teams, 12-2 in 5 innings, back on June 17 in Clarion.
“We just came out really flat for whatever reason,” Fisher said. “You can call it overlooking them, you can call it youth, you can call it whatever you want. The bottom line is we weren’t ready to play and I obviously didn’t do a good enough job of getting them motivated and ready to play.”
Pitchers Dylan Steen, Daniel Halko and Collin Oswald combined to issue nine free passes. WCHS (7-14, 5-8 NCC) made six errors that led to six unearned runs.
Oswald was a bright spot in his 21?3 innings of work late. He allowed just one hit, walked two and struck out four.
“I was really happy with how Ozzy came in and threw and we’ll try to get him some more innings here down the stretch,” Fisher said.
Steen and Halko both had trouble throwing their off-speed pitches for strikes. That allowed CGD (9-13, 2-11 NCC) to sit back and tee off on fast balls, which led to 11 hits.
“Obviously we weren’t very crisp,” Fisher said. “But you have to give (CGD) credit. They looked for their pitch and did a good job of hitting line drives. They were very comfortable at the plate.”
The same couldn’t be said for WCHS, which finished with seven hits – all singles – off Cowboys’ hurler Cody Kapka. Five of those base knocks came over the final three innings after CGD opened up a 10-run cushion.
Kapka walked four and fanned five in earning the complete-game win.
“It didn’t look like we wanted to be at the plate,” Fisher said. “I don’t know if the guys were overthinking it or what, but they just didn’t look comfortable at the plate all night.”
Already ahead 3-0, CGD sent 12 batters to the plate and reeled off seven runs in the top of the fifth. Brendon Boyd had two hits and drove in two runs in the frame, while Jarrod Littlejohn and Trenton Sann smacked RBI singles. Eryn Ulven’s RBI double led to the hook for Halko, who worked 22?3 innings of relief.
Boyd finished 3-for-3 at the dish. Kenton Waters collected three RBI.
WCHS avoided the mercy rule by plating three runs in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of a RBI ground out by Romel Martinez and RBI singles by Noah McKinney and Oswald. The Lynx added another run in the sixth and then two more on RBI by Oswald and Riley Mishler in the seventh.
McKinney and Cole Reigelsberger both went 2-for-3 out of the Nos. 2 and 3 spots in the lineup. Oswald went 2-for-4 and Martinez added a single.
Steen’s start on the bump lasted just two innings. He surrendered three hits and three runs, two of which were earned. He walked four and struck out three.
WCHS will try to rebound on Monday when it makes the trip east to take on Iowa Falls-Alden in Iowa Falls at 7:15 p.m. The Lynx will close out the regular season at home on Tuesday against Boone.