HAMPTON - The fourth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond softball team completed their mission on Thursday, but it didn't go exactly like they had planned.
The Gaels clinched the North Central Conference title outright with a 16-4 victory over Bishop Garrigan, but they suffered their first league loss to Hampton-Dumont at night, 3-2.
"It was a bittersweet day," SEHS head coach Paul Hunt said. "We came out right away and got some runs against Garrigan, but we just couldn't finish.
"It would be easy to say one of many excuses for the Hampton-Dumont loss, but none of them had to do with the outcome. We lost because we had one bad inning where we booted the ball around and they took advantage."
Still, St. Edmond (27-5 overall, 16-1 in league) won the NCC for the first time since 2010. Megan Flattery had a double and two steals against Garrigan, while Amanda Lansman collected an RBI double.
"One of the good things that came out of this long week was the opportunity to play several young girls and see what they could give us going forward and in the future," Hunt said. "And I was proud of the way they stepped up.
"We're right where we wanted to be at this point in the season, with our No. 1 goal still set at playing on the last Friday of the softball season at state."
Due to rescheduling, this was the sixth game this week for St. Edmond, who picked up wins over Humboldt, Clarion-Goldfield, Webster City and Clear Lake already.
The Gaels will close out their regular season against Iowa Falls-Alden on Monday on the road. They open postseason play Wednesday at Rogers Park.