Gaels take early NCC softball clash
No. 8 St. Edmond tops Webster City
Bill Shirbroun knew if his St. Edmond softball squad wanted to separate themselves from Webster City, they had to win the season opener in the 2023 series.
Even after the Lynx made some noise in the first inning on Wednesday and got on the scoreboard first, the Gaels were able to stay the course and not panic.
The Gaels (4-1 overall, 3-0 in the North Central Conference) used a big hit in the fourth inning and a solid defensive performance start to finish to turn back the Lynx (1-7, 0-2) by a final of 3-1.
“This is one we had to had if we want to be paying for a NCC championship (next month),” Shirbroun said. “They got some early bunts and scored, but I felt like we could still find a way.”
Last year’s co-NCC champions met at Rogers Park in what ended up being a pitcher’s duel.
Webster City junior Delainey Bargfrede (1-3), a Western Kentucky University recruit, held the Gaels hitless until the fourth inning.
Peyton Bradley had the big hit for the Gaels with a ringing double to center field, plating both Lauren Gibb and Ansley Oswald. Gibb and Oswald had reached on singles.
“That was a huge hit from Payton, and it came at a time that we really needed it,” Shirbroun said. “I knew if we kept playing the way we needed to and didn’t force things, we could give ourselves a chance.”
The Gaels had some outstanding diving plays from Gibb in center field, Kolacia at second base and Faith Shirbroun at shortstop.
“Those plays were just as big as the hit,” Shirbroun said. “We always talk about taking outs away and limiting runs. We did that.”
Kolacia’s RBI ground out scored courtesy runner Michaela Leiting for the last St. Edmond run.
Bargfrede struck out two and walked two while allowing three hits, all coming in the fourth. The Gaels scored three earned runs.
After a shaky first inning where the Lynx started with two straight hits, the Gaels settled down. Adeline Tesdahl and Cloe Savitski singled, and Tesdahl scored on a sacrifice fly from Ava Peterson.
“We were able to put the ball in play, but their defense made plays,” said WCHS head coach Brad Van Deer. “They were just able to come through with timely hitting and we weren’t.”
St. Edmond starter Kaili Henning (2-0) got better as the game progressed, allowing only two hits in the final six innings. Henning struck out nine and walked only one. She sat the side down in order three times.
“Kaili pitched a great game,” Shirbroun said. “She does what she’s asked and is good in big situations.
“She was dominant and closed it out.”
The Gaels, who have now won four straight, will travel to South Hardin for a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.
ST. EDMOND 3, WEBSTER CITY 1
Webster City 100 000 0 — 1 4 1
St. Edmond 000 300 x — 3 3 1
WP–Kaili Henning (2-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO); LP–Delainey Bargfrede (1-3, 6 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO); 2B–SE: Peyton Bradley.