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Comets beat Cadets, storm in extra-inning thriller


Comets beat Cadets, storm in extra-inning thriller
Press photos by John Burbridge
Charles City second baseman Payton Hadley tags out Crestwood’s Ella Bergan as she tries to return to the bag. Bergan’s basehit in the bottom of the seventh helped tie the game (1-1), but the Comets eventually prevailed (2-1) in 11 innings.

By John Burbridge

CRESCO — Let’s play two today.

Well, the Charles City Comets and the Crestwood Cadets ended up playing just one when they were scheduled to square up in a Northeast Iowa Conference softball doubleheader on Tuesday.

But they were approaching the equivalent of two games before the Comets pulled out a thrilling 2-1 victory in 11 innings just in time to beat an electrified storm that rolled in just as the Charles City team bus and accompanying caravan rolled out of Cresco.

It was arguably the grittiest win in recent memory for the Comets, who improved to 9-1 overall and 2-0 in the NEIC while extending their winning streak to eight.

Crestwood fell to 6-4 and 0-2.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Crestwood had the winning run at third base with only one out. During a safety-squeeze bunt attempt that was popped up between the plate and the pitching circle, Comet left-handed eighth-grade ace Addison Ellis made an all-out diving catch while snaring the ball just off the dirt with the webbing of her glove. Ellis was unable to double the runner off third base (it was a safety-squeeze not a “suicide”-squeeze) but struck the next batter to extend the game further.

The Comets eventually took the lead for good in the 11th inning when Keely Collins doubled home Alex Wohlers, who previously singled.

The Cadets threatened again when Ellis’s counterpart, freshman Ainsley Teeling doubled to lead off the bottom of the 11th with a pinch-runner eventually advancing to third with only one out. But Ellis proceeded to strike out the next two batters for her 18th and career-high 19th SO of the game leading to a Comet celebration as the rain started to fall.

After four scoreless innings, the game was delayed for 30 minutes with lightning reporting in the distance.

The Comets drew first blood in the top of the sixth when Ellis’s sacrifice fly sent Lauren Staudt home after Staudt previously got on with an infield single.

Crestwood tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when Ella Bergen’s single was misplayed allowing a run to score.

Keely Collins was 2 for 5 with the aforementioned RBI-double, Wohlers was 2 for 5, and Staudt and Edie Collins were both 2 for 4 for Charles City, which is conspicuously still not ranked among the Top 15 Class 4A teams according to the lasting rankings released by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union on Wednesday.

The postponed second game will likely be rescheduled for June 21 when Charles City hosts Crestwood.

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