MOUNT AYR –Central Decatur softball picked up a 4-2 win over a Mount Ayr team with high expectations for the 2020 season, with struggles of a COVID-19 season helping spur the Cardinals to the win.
The Class 2A No. 6 Raiderettes were playing their 10th game of the season while the Cardinals were on game 14. The four-game difference showed itself with baserunning mistakes and three errors.
The mistakes in the field went both ways. Mount Ayr took an early lead on a sharp-hit ball to the Cardinals’ Carlee Hamilton. An error on the play allowed two runners to score, giving the Raiderettes a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Central Decatur tied the game up at two after a leadoff double from Emily Cornell and a Carleigh O’Dell strikeout got away from Abigail Barnes behind the plate, advancing Cornell to third and O’Dell to second.
Hallee Hamilton hit a tall fly ball to Channler Henle in center for a sacrifice fly. The throw went past the relay and straight to home. O’Dell advanced to third on the throw home. Barnes, after receiving Henle’s throw, threw to third base. An errant throw got away from Alexa Anderson at third base, scoring O’Dell.
Another Central Decatur run in the fourth extended the lead to 3-2 as the Cardinals started to hit the ball to all fields.
“We had a sac fly, they threw it around – which scored the first run – they gave us the second run to tie it back up, and it was just a good, solid ball game after that,” Central Decatur head coach Rudy Evertsen said.
Again in the fifth, the Cardinals threatened to lead off the inning. Hamilton led off the inning with a double. A bunt moved her to third, but Sam Stewart doubled Hamilton up on a line drive and a throw to third to escape a potentially disastrous inning for the Raiderettes.
“We’ve had a couple just rough baserunning errors, just weird things that have happened. That’s just one of those situations, but we stayed strong, hit the ball well and played good defense,” Evertsen said.
Mount Ayr’s offense struggled as they trailed. Swinging at pitches early in the count and high in the zone started to become a problem as the Raiderettes trailed late in the game.
Mount Ayr tallied three hits in the game. Addy Reynolds, Anderson and Maddie Stewart tallied the three hits. The top four batters in Mount Ayr’s order went 2-for-11.
The Raiderettes’ offense went down quickly in the fifth and sixth innings, putting the Cardinals in a good position to take the momentum late.
Central Decatur capitalized again in the top of the sixth inning.
Eily Hall reached on an error from a ball hit to Maddie Stewart at second. Kylee Rockhold singled to put runners at first and second with no outs. Emily Cornell doubled to left on 3-2 pitch from Reynolds to push the score to 4-2.
Rockhold ended the game, putting Mount Ayr down in order in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings. She pitched all seven innings without allowing an earned run and struck out six batters.
“Ky pitched her butt off. Two unearned runs early on, and she’s got that in her every night. It’s just if we back her up and play good defense, we’re in good shape,” Evertsen said.
With the win over No. 6 Mount Ayr, Evertsen said the win was a confidence boost and reinforces what he has been telling the team all season, “we can play with anybody, we just have to make sure we’re ready to go.”