The change of pace and game time may have helped the St. Edmond softball team some here Tuesday, but the change in attitude was the driving force behind the Gaels’ 11-8 upset victory over North Central Conference leader Humboldt at Rogers Park.
Head coach Katie Donnelly’s squad simply wasn’t going to put up with another sub-par performance.
Less than 15 hours after losing 12-0 at Algona, St. Edmond (2-13 overall, 2-6 in the NCC) snapped a nine-game losing streak and handed the sixth-ranked (Class 3A) Wildcats (18-2, 8-1) their first league loss of the season. The Gaels plated five runs in the fourth inning to erase a 4-2 deficit, then tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth for an emphatic win.
”I don’t think it was as much about the early start (noon) as it was just us needing to regroup,” Donnelly said. ”We had to take a step back after (Monday’s showing in Algona), talk about it, and move on quickly from it because we’re better than what we showed (against the Bulldogs).
”We made some big changes to the lineup recently, and I think we’ll really start to see the benefits. We had good balance up and down the lineup, and got a lot of key contributions from our leaders.”
Humboldt had taken 18 consecutive decisions since a season-opening loss at Ogden, and scored 10 or more runs nine times during that stretch. But Gael senior Lily Timmerman surrendered only one extra-base hit and five earned runs from the pitcher’s circle, while helping her own cause at the plate with a home run, three hits, three runs scored and three RBI.
Freshman Sydney Nelson was 2-for-3 with three runs scored, and junior Megan Flattery went 2-for-4 and knocked in three. Audrey Kolacia scored twice.
”We stayed positive and continued to pick each other up,” Donnelly said. ”Even when we committed errors or made a mistake, we didn’t let it pile up and spiral the way it does sometimes when we show our youth and inexperience.
”The best part of this team is their resilience. Our girls are eager and ready to go, regardless of what happened the last time out. That is so important. (The Algona setback) was a wake-up call (the Gaels had defeated the Bulldogs at Rogers Park earlier in the month, 16-7), and to our team’s credit, they responded.”
Beth Duffield, Halie George and Taylor Gidel each had two hits for Humboldt. Carlie Thompson scored three times, and Duffield came home twice. Gidel drove in a pair.
Trailing 11-5, the Wildcats plated three runs in the top of the seventh before bowing out.
Humboldt had blanked St. Edmond on May 25 at home, 10-0.
”I think there was some added incentive (facing the Wildcats), given how well they’d obviously been playing and the fact that they’d beaten us like that earlier in the year,” Donnelly said. ”We wanted to prove to ourselves and show the conference that on a given day, we can play with anyone.”
The Gaels return to action on Wednesday in a 7:30 p.m. varsity contest at home against Webster City. Humboldt heads to Hampton-Dumont tonight.