Patience and Pain
10 walks, 7 hit batters help Lynx bury CGD
CLARION — It was probably a little painful, but the Webster City softball team really didn’t have to do a heck of a lot offensively to cruise to victory in its final North Central Conference contest of the season here Wednesday night.
Patience was a virtue, and it led to quite a few runs. The aforementioned pain added to the onslaught.
WCHS had just five hits, but took advantage of 10 walks and seven batters that were hit by pitches to steamroll Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, 13-1 in 4 innings. The Lynx (6-3, 5-2 NCC) won their third straight contest and capped a third-place finish in the league behind second-ranked (Class 3A) Humboldt and sixth-ranked (3A) Algona, who met last night to decide the league champion.
WCHS dropped a 2-0 decision to Algona and then a heartbreaking 6-5, 9-inning contest against Humboldt. It would be easy for the Lynx to think about what might have been, but head coach Jess Howard says her squad is leaving the past in, well, the past.
“It’s definitely a year that we could have been on top of the conference, but it didn’t work out that way,” she said. “But we need to take those games, learn from them and run with it knowing we can compete with the top teams in the state.”
There was no such angst on Wednesday, as WCHS spotted CGD (2-7, 0-7 NCC) an early 1-0 lead after one inning and then took over. The Lynx knotted the contest at 1 on a Tatum Goings RBI ground ball in the second, and then erupted for four runs in the third and eight in the fourth to send everyone home early.
Cowgirls’ starting pitcher Alaina Friesleben had trouble locating the strike zone throughout the clash. She walked seven and plunked six before handing the ball over to Brooke Askelsen midway through the fifth inning. Askelsen walked three more and also hit a batter.
“It’s easy to start swinging at bad pitches in a situation like this, so the patience at the plate was good,” Howard said. “The girls stayed focused when they were at the plate and they were aggressive when they did see some pitches.”
Eighth-grader Addie Tesdahl continued her late-season surge with a 2 for 2 night that included three runs scored and four RBIs. Tesdahl hit a blooper into right field that plated two runs in the third, and one frame later she turned on a pitch and sent a laser into left that brought two more runs to the dish.
Over her last two games, Tesdahl is 5 for 5 — it’s pushed her batting average to .320 — with four runs scored, five RBIs and two stolen bases. She’s reached base in seven consecutive plate appearances.
“When you’re young you see lots of strides quickly,” Howard said of Tesdahl. “She’s doing a great job at the plate of swinging hard, making contact and hitting the gaps for us.”
Howard also credits her veterans for making Tesdahl feel at home at such a young age.
“We’ve got a lot of leadership and girls that have been in her position before,” she said. “They know what it takes to be able to compete at that age, and they’ve done a good job of leading her along the way, showing her the ropes, and making her feel comfortable.”
Jenna Miller smacked the game’s only extra-base hit — a double that one-hopped into the fence in center in the third inning. Kelly Stoakes and Alayna Finucan added singles. Stoakes, Finucan, Taylor McKinney, Leah Kasch and Faith Anderson all collected one RBI.
Stoakes, the Lynx lead-off hitter, reached base in all four plate appearances. She’s now hitting .552 with a .629 on-base percentage.
CGD laced three consecutive singles off Miller that produced a first-inning run, but the Lynx junior right-hander controlled the final three frames. She retired 11 of the final 12 batters she faced, and struck out five.
WCHS will now turn its attention to next week — a treacherous stretch of games that will certainly test the team’s mettle. It begins on Tuesday at home against top-ranked (5A) Fort Dodge, followed by a trip to Algona on Wednesday to take on fourth-ranked (1A) Bishop Garrigan. The Lynx will wrap up the week back at home on Friday against top-ranked (4A) Carlisle.
“We’re going out to compete every single night and it’s going to teach us a lot in terms of where we need to work and what we do well,” Howard said. “There aren’t any conference games, so everything we do from now on is helping to get us ready for the postseason.”
Webster City 13, CGD 1 (4 inn)
Wednesday at Clarion
Web City 014 8 — 13 5 0
CGD 100 0 — 1 3 2
Jenna Miller and Kelly Stoakes, Jill Symens (4). Alaina Friesleben, Brooke Askelsen (4) and Kendall Lienemann, Kaylie Dow (5). WP — Miller. LP — Friesleben. Multiple hits — WC: Addie Tesdahl. 2B — WC: Miller. RBI — WC: Tesdahl (4), Stoakes, Taylor McKinney, Leah Kasch, Alayna Finucan, Faith Anderson, Tatum Goings; CGD: Lienemann.