Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
RIVERSIDE — The Cardinal softball team slugged out 12 hits and scored eight runs in an impressive offensive display on Wednesday night, as the Comets knocked off Highland 8-3 in a battle of two regional finalists from last season.
The Comets got to the Huskies early, a rarity with Highland’s Jessica Kraus on the mound. Emma Becker delivered an RBI single in the first inning. Madison Diveley scored two on a double, and Brinlee Ostrander scored on an error.
At one point, Cardinal had an 5-0 lead. Ostrander’s RBI single in the fourth had Highland’s backs against the wall, but the Huskies didn’t say die.
In the bottom of the fifth, Highland made it a ballgame again. Sarah Burton, one night removed from her second home run of the year blasted a 3-run shot.
Burton’s bomb was the first blemish on Cardinal ace Nicoa McClure’s night, and one that looked to send the game into nail-biter mode, but McClure escaped with no more damage done, and the Comets delivered the knockout blow in their next at bat.
Diveley stepped to the plate with nobody on and answered Burton with a long ball of her own, giving the Comet junior her second big hit of the night and first over-the-fence home run in her softball career.
“I needed it,” Diveley said. “After I hit it and saw it go over, I was juts like, ‘finally.’”
Becker would deliver for the Comets again later in the sixth as two more runs crossed the plate. Highland would never cut back into the lead.
McClure struck nine batters out over a seven-inning complete game to earn the win in the circle. Diveley and Becker tied for the team lead in RBIs, with three apiece. Ostrander had two hits and two RBIs, and both Caitlyn Reber and Riley Bears collected two knocks.
“She’s a great pitcher, and we knew they were going to hit the ball, so we knew we were going to have to do some things right,” said Highland head coach Carrie Wieland. “We didn’t do as many right as they did.”
Burton finished 1-for-4 with a home and three RBIs. Payton Brun was 2-for-4. Kraus went 1-for-2 with a walk, and also struck out six Comets from the circle.
Cardinal moved to 5-7 with the win. Highland fell to 6-4-1.