ELDON — The Cardinal softball team nearly had a magical run to the state tournament last summer without playing the postseason game at home.
This summer, with any luck, the Comets may be able to complete that state tournament trip without having to leave home all July. Hours after being seeded second in Class 2A, Region 7, Cardinal No. 14 retired early in a potential playoff preview against Mediapolis scoring five points late in the second before claiming a 12-2 victory in six innings with four runs down the sixth.
“I think we were really fired up and I think it really fired us up when we heard the news about the pairs,” Cardinal’s second-year shortstop Emma Becker said. “We hit the ball really well. I think we’re excited for the playoffs.”
Cardinal continued to roll over the weekend, earning a pair of tournament victories from North Mahaska scoring six runs in the first set of a 9-2 win over the Warhawks while earning a 12-0 win over Baxter early with nine points. in the bottom of the first against the Bolts. With a 12-0 win over Moravia on Monday, Cardinal has won four straight and 11 of its last 13 games heading into its final regular season home game Tuesday night at Central Lee.
“I think the adjustments earlier in games. It gives us the hits and the runs we need to get the wins,” Becker said.
The revelation of the regional duo came just in time for head coach Sabrina Morrison. The Comets (18-11) received a bye to the second round of the regional tournament and will host either Southeast Iowa Superconference Southern Division rival Danville or Mediapolis on July 6.
“I’m glad we heard we could see Mediapolis again in the playoffs before this game,” Morrison said Friday. “We didn’t throw out Nicoa (McClure) and made other changes so we didn’t show Mediapolis too much. I was happy to have finished early, although I wish we could have finished a bit sooner.”
Mediapolis managed to answer a two-run triple in the first inning by Becker by driving a pair of runs through home plate in the second on a two-run single by Olivia Hines. The Comets rallied with two outs late in the second to break the 2-2 tie as Bullette’s defense failed to register an out on a ground ball short by Maddy Lawson, loading the goals for Becker who shot the first of two goals. -loaded balls in the inning issued by Mediapolis starting pitcher Hanna Wagenbach.
Ava Ferrell, given the start in the pitching circle with McClure being saved for a potential playoff rematch next week, helped her own cause with a two-run single that put the Comets up 6-2. Kinsey Hissem scored on wild pitch on a Riley Bears driven walk, giving Cardinal a five-point lead while ending Wagenbach’s night in the circle early.
“It’s very important to take the lead early for Ava and Nicoa. They really need it,” Becker said. “It really motivates us to be able to play with a lead from the start. Getting this win really helped us. If they beat Danville, we’ll be lucky to have them (Mediapolis) again.”
Becker reached base on all four trips to the plate against Mediapolis (5-15) on Friday, making three runs in the first two innings while scoring three times heading home with Ferrell shoving Becker in from third base in the fourth. and sixth innings. . After holding the Comets for three innings, Mediapolis relief pitcher Josie Parrot was the victim of two more Mediapolis errors and two walks in the sixth allowing Cardinal to put the game away with an RBI single from Caitlyn Reber driving Madison Diveley with Cardinal’s 12th, evoking the 10-point Rule of Mercy.
“I said it from day one that we can hit one through nine in the lineup, which is great to have,” Morrison said. “The girls have made the right adjustments. They’re making solid contact. They’re still batting, laying down some key bunts. We’re where we need to play ahead of regional play.”