Go big or go home time for Lynx

WEBSTER CITY – Three wins – that’s what it will take for the Webster City softball team to end a 13-year state tournament drought.

And nothing will be easy.

Webster City (17-17) will begin its Class 4A Region 2 trek this evening with a road trip to Charles City to take on the Comets (24-10) in a quarterfinal-round bout set for 7 p.m. The winner will advance to Saturday’s semifinal round against 14th-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock (30-8) in Waverly.

Sitting on the other side of the Region 2 bracket is eighth-ranked West Delaware (26-8).

WCHS finished off the regular season with back-to-back victories and wins in three of its last four games. It’s no secret the team has been on a roller coaster ride since the season began back in May, but the Lynx appear to be currently climbing the hill rather than taking the quick ride to the bottom.

“We’re playing well right now,” WCHS head coach Jess Howard said. “Again, you’ve got to come out every night to play and hopefully we can carry on that momentum into the postseason.”

Charles City knocked off WCHS, 7-4, in a regular season meeting at the Forest City Invitational on June 28. Mikaleh McCoy, the junior ace of the Lynx pitching staff, did not toe the rubber in that earlier meeting. She’ll get the call tonight and will take a 13-11 record and 2.75 ERA into the circle.

McCoy has fanned 109 batters this season and opponents carry a .242 batting average against her.

She’ll face an imposing Charles City lineup that features seven starters that hit better than .300. No one in the Comets’ order is more imposing than senior Mara Forsyth, who hits .459 with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs.

Forsyth went 1-for-3 with a triple in the earlier meeting against the Lynx.

“They’re real similar to us. They put the ball in play and they make defensive plays, but if you keep putting the ball in play they can make mistakes,” Howard said. “(Forsyth) is a very powerful hitter, but she’s got to be able to perform every night. We’re hoping that McCoy will be able to keep her off-balance.”

Katelyn Foster (.451) and Jackie Foster (.413) provide Charles City with two more offensive weapons. They’ve combined to steal 44 bases and have been caught just twice.

WCHS received a first-hand look at Charles City’s top hurler last month. Megan Roetler owns a 13-5 record and 1.39 ERA; she allowed seven hits and struck out nine when she faced the Lynx in Forest City.

“She moves the ball around and has a decent off-speed pitch, but she’s hittable,” Howard said of Roetler.

WCHS doesn’t carry the prolific batting averages that Charles City possesses, but there’s plenty of power in the lineup. The Lynx have smacked 13 home runs, led by Kaylee Schnathorst (5) and Cassidy Nerland (4).

Schnathorst, a five-year starter in the outfield, is hitting .320 on the season, second on the team to sophomore left fielder Allie Flaws (.362). McCoy (.313) and right fielder Kenady Highland (.311) have also been strong contributors.

Flaws has swiped 38 bases and been caught just once.