In Chase Mode

WEBSTER CITY – The North Central Conference softball title couldn’t be won or lost last night at Lynx Field, but one team left the diamond certainly with a leg up.

No. 13-ranked (Class 2A) Fort Dodge St. Edmond overcame an early 2-0 deficit and poured it on late to beat Webster City, 8-3, in a battle of the top two teams in the league.

The Gaels (13-1, 7-0 NCC) won their 10th consecutive contest despite behind out-hit 7-6. WCHS (8-4, 6-1 NCC) slipped into second in the standings after allowing two runs in the fourth inning, one in the fifth and five in the sixth.

“We had our opportunities to make plays defensively and an out here and there and the game is a completely different outcome,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “We’ve just got to play for 21 full outs.”

Allie Flaws and Kaylee Schnathorst both went 2-for-4 at the dish in the loss. They both had bunt singles in the first inning; Flaws raced to the plate on Schnathorst’s short chip in front of the plate. Courtesy runner Chelsey Wagoner scored when Maddie Anderson hit a hard shot to shortstop.

Mikaleh McCoy, Cassidy Nerland and Kenady Highland all singled. Highland drove in one run.

But WCHS took too many cuts that went nowhere against Gaels’ ace Amanda Lansman. The right-hander had plenty of pop on her fastball, but also used enough off-speed pitches to fan 12 Lynx batters.

“She’s got a lot of off-speed junk that really kept us off-balance,” Howard said. “That’s the first time we’ve seen anyone like that and she did a good job.”

WCHS will face another tough task tonight when it travels east to take on Iowa Falls-Alden – another squad expected to be in the race for the league crown to the bitter end. Then on Friday the Lynx will host defending 4A runner-up Carlisle.

“Like I said before, it’s going to be tough to go undefeated in the conference and that’s what we stressed to the girls,” Howard said. “We’ve got to forget this one because we’ve got another tough one coming at us.”