BLACKJACK: Lynx reach 21 wins by dismantling Indians in 3 innings
Every WCHS starter records at least one hit in regular season finale
WEBSTER CITY — With each smack off the bat, every extra base taken, every foot that stepped on home plate Monday evening, the 15th-ranked (Class 4A) Webster City softball team proclaimed it’s ready and eager for the postseason to begin.
Thanks to a marathon first inning that produced just the second double-digit runs frame for the program over the last eight seasons, the Lynx buried non-conference opponent Forest City, 12-0 in 3 innings, in the regular season finale at Lynx Field.
WCHS (21-6), which put together its most successful regular season since a 24-6 run in 2013, piled up 10 runs in the first inning and added two more in the second. It didn’t need a third at bat.
The dominant showing was exactly what head coach Jess Howard wanted to see following a heartbreaking 1-0, 8-inning loss to third-ranked (3A) Humboldt just three days earlier. The Wildcats subsequently clinched the North Central Conference title outright Monday night, their fourth in a row, with a 10-0 rout of Clear Lake. That left WCHS in the runner-up position.
“You always worry after a loss like we had on Friday how (the players are) going to come out and I thought they responded very well,” Howard said. “It’s a good thing to carry into the postseason.”
Twelve consecutive batters reached base in the first inning and the first 10 all scored. WCHS touched Forest City pitcher Natalie Moore for eight hits by seven different players in the frame, but the Indians didn’t do their pitcher any favors by committing four errors behind her.
“We made contact, we put the ball in play and we made the other team make plays,” Howard said. “We came out really strong offensively.”
The 10 spot was the first double-digit inning for WCHS since it also plated 10 in the third inning of a 14-5 win over Greene County on May 26, 2018.
Zoey Woodle, who was the only Lynx player with two hits in the first inning, opened the dam with a one-out bunt single. Taylor McKinney and Atlanta Hopp followed with RBI base hits to load the bases for Jenna Miller, who turned on a Moore offering and belted it down the left-field line for a two-RBI single. Two batters later, still with the bases loaded, Cynthia Whitehill hit an identical shot as Miller and drove in two more runs.
Kelly Stoakes had the game’s only extra-base hit — an RBI double into the left-center gap — that made it 8-0. Woodle’s second hit, a hard bouncer past the infield, scored another. Leah Kasch got WCHS to 10 with a RBI base hit two batters later.
Tatum Goings and Alayna Finucan both singled in the second inning and eventually scored. Goings slid in safely on a wild pitch to make it 11-0 and Finucan beat a throw home on a bases loaded RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Woodle.
Every WCHS starter laced at least one hit and six collected at least one RBI. The Lynx also swiped four bases.
Forest City (9-17) could have been given 20 innings worth of at bats against Miller and still not caught up. The Lynx sophomore right-hander overpowered most of the 10 batters she faced and struck out half of them. Moore and Lyndee Jones both singled for the Indians, but neither moved past first base.
The game ended on a unassisted double play by Finucan at first base.
WCHS will now wait to see who it will host in a 4A Region 3 semifinal Saturday evening at 7 p.m. Mason City (16-21) and Waverly-Shell Rock (5-26) will meet in a quarterfinal Thursday for the right to take on the Lynx.
Second-ranked Charles City (33-3) sits on the top half of the Region 3 bracket and would host the regional final next Tuesday should it advance.
Webster City 12, Forest City 0 (3)
Monday at Webster City
For City 0 00 — 0 2 4
Web City (10) 2x — 12 10 0
Natalie Moore and Keevan Jones. Jenna Miller and Kaitlynn Seeley. W — Miller. L — Moore. Multiple hits — WC: Zoey Woodle. 2B — WC: Kelly Stoakes. RBI — WC: Woodle (2), Miller (2), Cynthia Whitehill (2), Stoakes, Taylor McKinney, Leah Kasch.