Comets dig the long ball, handle Hawks

NP hits 6 HRs, 4 in 7th inning alone, to take control of HOIC

South Hamilton’s Cortney Harris (14) slides in safely to score on a wild pitch during the seventh inning against North Polk on Monday. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

JEWELL — South Hamilton’s ability to control its own destiny in the race for the Heart of Iowa Conference championship went flying out of park each and every time the ball did Monday evening at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex.

North Polk digs the long ball. A lot.

The Comets belted six home runs, four of them coming in the seventh inning alone, and put a stranglehold on the league title chase with an 8-3 victory over South Hamilton. The two teams entered the contest tied atop the HOIC standings.

“North Polk was just on,” South Hamilton head coach Harry McMaken said. “We just couldn’t figure out a way of keeping them from attacking the ball.”

Sydney Anderson and Hailey Steffen, North Polk’s No. 9 stick, both left the yard twice. Ellie Owen and Carolyn Steffen had one dinger each.

Lily Skartvedt (center) listens to head coach Harry McMaken during a break in play against North Polk on Monday in Jewell. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

North Polk (14-8, 8-2 HOIC) led 3-0 entering the seventh inning and then put the game out of reach with five runs. Owen, Carolyn Steffen and Hailey Steffen all hit solo home runs, and Anderson cranked a two-run shot.

“All four were to straightaway left field,” McMaken said. “They hit the ball hard.”

Anderson and Hannah Foster were both 3 for 4 off Hawks’ pitcher Taylor Volkmann, who struck out nine in the loss.

South Hamilton (16-8, 9-3 HOIC) didn’t get its offense rolling until the last half of the seventh, but by then it was way too late. Krista Swenson and Hailey Diersen both drove in runs in the team’s final at bat.

Swenson, Jessi Harms and Hailey Diersen all singled in the game. Breanne Diersen and Cortney Harris both roped doubles.

South Hamilton senior Breanne Diersen makes contact with a pitch on Monday. The Hawks dropped an 8-3 decision to North Polk. DFJ photo/Tracy Runneberg

North Polk out hit the Hawks, 10-5.

North Polk 8, South Hamilton 3

Monday at Jewell

N. Polk 001 110 5 — 8 10 1

S. Ham 000 000 3 — 3 5 1

Sophie Swygman and Trisha Sporaa. Taylor Volkmann and Breanne Diersen. W — Swygman. L — Volkmann. Multiple hits — NP: Hannah Foster (3), Sydney Anderson (3), Hailey Steffen. 2B — SH: B. Diersen, Cortney Harris. HR — NP: Anderson (2), H. Steffen (2), Carolyn Steffen, Ellie Owen. RBI — NP: Anderson (3), H. Steffen (2), C. Steffen, Foster, Owen; SH: Krista Swenson, Hailey Diersen.