Manufactured runs power Bombers
Ballard didn’t need any help in its Class 4A state softball semifinal against Charles City here on Thursday.
The fourth-ranked Bombers still got plenty of it from the mistake-prone Comets.
All but one of Ballard’s runs came on plays in the infield as the Bombers posted a 6-1 victory and advanced to the championship round at Rogers Park.
Ballard (35-5) will now face Raccoon River Conference rival and second-rated Winterset — a 3-1 winner over defending champ Oskaloosa — for the 4A title on Friday morning at 10:10 a.m.
A regional final injury to Charles City catcher Kelby Katcher came back to haunt the Comets (33-7) in the semis. Three passed balls and six wild pitches allowed the Bombers to keep the train rolling on the bases, and four infield singles during a four-run second inning led to everything first-year head coach Charlie Husak’s squad would need.
Left-handed ace Abby Carlin (23-4) did the rest, as the senior struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter in her complete-game performance from the pitcher’s circle.
”We’re obviously really excited,” Carlin said. ”I wanted to just keep executing my pitches, and my defense is always strong behind me.”
No. 9 hitter Jenna Moody went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored for Ballard, which hasn’t been at state since its 2012 championship campaign. Rachel Newell and Isabell Hobbs had two hits a piece, and lead-off batter Skyler Rigby scored twice.
”It gave us a lot of extra confidence when we (went up 5-0 in the second inning), but we focus on treating every game like it’s 0-0 no matter what,” Rigby said. ”We’ll keep working hard, trust the process, and trust each other.”
Sara Martin’s solo home run in the bottom of the second wound up counting as the lone run for No. 14 Charles City.
Both teams worked their way through the sweltering mid-day heat, with temperatures reaching the mid-90s. Carlin didn’t mind at all, adding, ”I don’t know what it is, but we almost seem to play better in (weather like) this.”
They’ll see more of the same conditions on Friday.
The Bombers and Winterset split during the regular season, with Ballard winning 2-0 on June 7 and the Huskies returning the favor with a 3-2 victory three weeks later. The Bombers are now 17-1 since mid-June.
BALLARD 6, CHARLES CITY 1
Ballard 140 001 0 — 6 9 1
Charles City 010 000 0 — 1 5 3
WP–Abby Carlin (23-4); LP–Samantha Heyer (23-6). 2B–CC: Shantel Van Hauen. HR–CC: Sara Martin. SB–B: Skylar Rigby, Rachel Newell, Maddie Kyhl, Hannah Elliott.