Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
ELDON — The Cardinal softball team opened postseason play in style Tuesday night in the Class 2A Region 7 opening round. The Comets mauled Mediapolis 11-1 in five innings to earn a spot in the semifinals.
The Cardinal offense was working early. After Mediapolis was held scoreless in the top of the first inning, Cardinal batted through the order and scored five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead.
Cardinal loaded the bases with nobody out, setting the stage for a big inning. Kinsey Hissem plated the first run on an RBI single. Ava Ferrell knocked in a pair on a groundout, and Madison Dively drove in two with a double.
Mediapolis went quietly in the second inning, and Cardinal made it hurt again. After singling to lead off the first inning, Caitlyn Reber started things with a leadoff triple. Brinlee Ostrander doubled in the inning and both scored on wild pitches.
“I felt like at the beginning of the year our bats were a bit off,” Reber said. “But once we start encouraging each other, our bats start to come on.”
The next three runs came in the third inning, which featured an RBI triple by Emma Becker, the Comets’ second three-bagger of the game.
Meanwhile, Nicoa McClure was cruising in the pitcher’s circle. The Cardinal freshman blanked the Bullettes in four-straight frames. The only Mediapolis run of the game came with two outs in the top of the fifth.
“I felt like I was throwing a lot harder than I had before,” McClure said. “It was nice having a break over the weekend.“
Cardinal needed just one run in the bottom of the fifth to finish the game early via the 10-run mercy rule. With the bases loaded and one out, McClure came up and helped her own cause with a game-ending single.
“I just knew I had to hit the ball,” McClure said. “I had to make contact and find a way.”
In the circle, McClure gave up just one unearned run on two hits, whiles striking out seven batters. She was 2-for-3 with an RBI at the plate.
Reber finished the game 2-for-2 with a triple. Hissem, Ferrell and Diveley led the Comets with two RBIs apiece, and Becker knocked in the only other Cardinal run.
Cardinal is now 15-13 on the year. The win earned a spot in Wednesday night’s Class 2A Region 7 quarterfinal at Wapello (18-7). The winner will play either No. 15 Van Buren County (21-5) or Danville (7-13) in the semifinals.