Gaels take care of Iowa Falls-Alden

In search of a spark to get his 12th-ranked (Class 1A) St. Edmond softball team going here in the early season, head coach Nick Clark turned to Sydney Engels.

The sophomore delivered, starting a four-run third with a double as the Gaels picked up a 5-1 victory over Iowa Falls-Alden at Rogers Park.

“Sydney’s just really been hitting the ball hard in junior varsity games and I wanted to give her a chance to prove herself on the field,” Clark said. “She definitely stepped up for us. She got us going there in the third and I thought she made some incredible plays in the field.”

Senior Jacque Oberg plated both Engels and Rylee Kinney with a double to the fence, with junior Jocy Timmerman doing the same to score Oberg and Erin Flattery for St. Edmond (2-2 overall, 1-1 in North Central Conference).

That was enough support for Ella Vratny, as the 10th-grader matched her career high with 12 strikeouts. Vratny retired the first 10 batters she faced, including seven by strikeout.

“Our defense was better,” Clark said. “When Ella is dealing like she was, it could be easy for the defense to relax. But I thought the girls really made some big plays and did a great job of taking away extra bases.

“Those things don’t show up in the box score, but they are so important.”

The Cadets (1-4, 0-3) scratched a run across in the fourth, but Vratny picked up her eighth strikeout of the game with runners on second and third. She added four strikeouts over the final three innings and allowed just four baserunners in all.

“I thought Ella had a lot of confidence about her and was really mixing up her speeds and her locations,” Clark said. “She was working quickly and got in a zone there early on.”

Engels, who had one varsity at-bat coming in, also worked a walk and made three outs in the field.

“I’m happy for Sydney, and happy that she stepped up when she was given the opportunity,” Clark said. “She really looked confident out there.”

Timmerman finished with two hits, Oberg, Flattery, Macey Mason, Engels and Gracie Harvey each had one. Vratny recorded her fourth stolen base of the season and Cambrie McBride scored a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Kacey Kruthoff.

The Gaels return to action on Saturday when they compete in at the CYO in Sioux City.

St. Edmond won the junior varsity contest last night, 14-13.

ST. EDMOND 5, IOWA FALLS-ALDEN 1

IF-Alden 000 100 0 — 1 3 1

St. Edmond 004 001 x — 5 7 1

WP–Ella Vratny (2-2, 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 12 K, 0 BB). LP–Mikayla Fjeld (0-3, 6 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 K, 2 BB).

2B–SE: Sydney Engels, Jacque Oberg, Jocy Timmerman. RBI–IF-A: Noelle Katschke; SE: Jacque Oberg (2), Jocy Timmerman (2), Kacey Kruthoff. SB–SE: Ella Vratny.

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