No. 1 Wildcats’ run of dominance over Lynx continues
WEBSTER CITY — Surprise, surprise — Carlisle can still hit the ball. Hard.
That’s always been the hallmark of the Jim Flaws’ led program, one that has been a constant at the top of the state rankings over the past two-plus decades. The Wildcats feast on pitching, any pitching really, and it’s a big reason why they’ve averaged 36 wins per season over the last decade.
It was on display again Friday at Lynx Field, as top-ranked (Class 4A) Carlisle constantly put the ball in play and found openings with runners in scoring position to knock off Webster City, 6-1.
Thirty-three times Carlisle (16-3) stepped up to the plate without a single strikeout.
“They don’t strike out,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said of the Wildcats, who also showed off their speed with eight stolen bases. “They put the ball in play and make you make plays. They hit it in between you, not necessarily over you.”
Carlisle is now 14-0 against WCHS over the past 12 seasons and have won those meetings by a combined 108 runs. Friday was just the fifth time over that span that the Lynx (7-5) have stayed within five runs.
WCHS junior pitcher Jenna Miller did all she could to minimize the damage. She constantly worked low and away and allowed only singles, but Carlisle simply went to the opposite field for the majority of its seven hits.
Aubrey Furnal and Molly Hoekstra both lashed a pair of hits for the Wildcats. Furnal drove in two runs, as did Meredith Hoffman.
Alayna Finucan led the Lynx five-hit attack with a pair of base knocks. Miller crushed a double to center, while Kelly Stoakes and Leah Kasch both smacked singles through the infield.
WCHS owned the lead for a half-inning. Miller got around on Hoekstra’s heat and deposited a shot over the head of Furnal in center to open the bottom of the second. Courtesy runner Bonny Nohrenberg moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Livia Kasch, and then raced to the dish on a safety squeeze RBI bunt by Faith Anderson.
“We were able to execute small ball, which we haven’t been doing very well this last week,” Howard said. “So it was good to see them execute that off a very good pitcher to get that first run across.”
Carlisle responded with a three-run flurry in the third to jump in front to stay. Furnal and Hoffman roped back-to-back RBI singles.
Carlisle tacked on two more runs in the fifth to expand the lead to 5-1. Furnal cashed in on another RBI single, and two batters later the Wildcats worked their own safety squeeze bunt with Kennedy Prenosil.
Another sacrifice, this time on a deep fly to right off the bat of Hoffman, scored Kennedy Preston in the sixth.
There were a few bright moments for WCHS. Taylor McKinney returned to her home at shortstop after missing Wednesday’s win over sixth-ranked (1A) Algona Garrigan because of injury and made several McKinney-style gems defensively. And the outfield was bolstered by Stoakes’ switch from catcher to center.
“She covers a lot of ground and she has great instincts on where the ball is going to be,” Howard said of Stoakes, who shifted from behind the plate to the outfield earlier in the week. “It takes pressure off the sides.”
Left fielder Tatum Goings made a diving catch to save a run and end the sixth inning.
However, right fielder Addie Tesdahl missed the game after injuring her ankle in practice earlier in the day.
WCHS will close out the regular season at home this evening against Roland-Story at 7:30 p.m. The Lynx will then spend the rest of the week preparing for Saturday’s 4A Region 2 semifinal against either 13th-ranked Ballard or Boone, who will meet in a quarterfinal on Thursday.
“This week showed us a lot of what we need to improve on and what we’re strong at,” Howard said. “So we’ll take that into practice and make sure we’re ready for Saturday.”
Carlisle 6, Webster City 1
Friday at Webster City
Carlisle 003 020 1 — 6 7 0
Web City 010 000 0 — 1 5 4
Molly Hoekstra, Lexxi Link (7) and Kennedy Preston. Jenna Miller and Jillian Symen. WP — Hoekstra. LP — Miller. Multiple hits — CAR: Hoekstra, Aubrey Furnal; WC: Alayna Finucan. 2B — WC: Miller. RBI — CAR: Furnal (2), Meredith Hoffman (2), Preston, Kennedy Prenosil; WC: Faith Anderson.