Staying right in the thick of the early North Central Conference title race, the St. Edmond softball team posted a 4-2 home victory over Algona Friday evening at Rogers Sports Complex.
The Gaels (9-3 overall, 5-2 NCC) overcame five defensive miscues by pounding out nine hits in the contest. SEHS plated one run in the third inning, two in the fourth and one more insurance score in the sixth.
"Almost every player in our lineup hit the ball hard (last night)," SEHS head coach Paul Hunt said. "Tip your hat to Algona, though, for making some great plays in the field and keeping (the score) close. They have a lot of youth on their team and are going to be very good in the future."
Josie Heesch, a junior designated player and No. 5 hitter, went a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate for the Gaels with two runs, a RBI and a stolen base. Heesch, who was sidelined by an elbow sprain for four games this past week, crushed her fourth long ball of the season to left field leading off the bottom of the sixth.
"Josie's really playing with a lot of confidence right now," said Hunt. "Her hands are so quick that she can just sit back and wait for (the ball)."
Junior second baseman Katy Bocken added a pair of hits and a stolen base for SEHS, which pushed its win streak to four consecutive games. Sophomore Cassie Sells (sacrifice fly) and classmate Jessica Kuebler (double) drove in timely runs as well for the Gaels, who also turned a key 5-3 double play in the sixth inning
ST. EDMOND, 4 ALGONA 2
Algona 000 100 1-2 3 1
St. Edmond 001 201 x-4 9 5
Sara Steinman (L, 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) and Justine Yeoman; Katie Donnelly (W, 8-1; 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) and Jessica Kuebler.
2B-SE: Kuebler. 3B-SE: Jaci Stumpf. HR-SE: Josie Heesch. SB-SE: Heesch, Katy Bocken, Lexi Peed. LOB-A: 4; SE: 5.
Going the distance in the circle was junior hurler Katy Donnelly (8-1), who surrendered only three hits and no earned runs. The Fort Dodge Senior High transfer walked one and struck out nine, firing 62 of her 83 pitches for strikes.
Donnelly has now fanned 80 in 60 2/3 innings of work on the year.
Collecting singles for the Bulldogs (2-7, 1-6) were Sara Steinman, Abigail Stecker and Michaela Heesch. Stecker also scored a run and made three sparkling catches in left field for Algona, which managed single tallies in the fourth and seventh frames on errors by the Gael shortstop and first baseman.
Next outing for the Gaels is Monday at defending league champion Webster City (7-7, 7-2). First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.