Cougars step forward in NICL West
CONRAD – Four is the number of focus for the Cougars this season.
And if the AGWSR offense can produce that many runs a night, AGWSR co-coach Scott O’Brien likes his team’s chances.
After failing to reach that barrier three times over the weekend and losing twice, the Class 2A No. 10 ranked Cougars surpassed their weekend scoring total with a 5-0 victory over No. 8 BCLUW in a North Iowa Cedar League West Division showdown Monday.
“We’ve shown that we’re not going to give up a lot of runs,” O’Brien said. “We told the girls after Saturday, ‘If you can score four runs a game, we’re going to be in pretty good shape in a lot of games.”
AGWSR (9-2, 5-0) crossed home just four times in three games at the David Lee Classic to suffer their first two setbacks of the season, though a more deliberate approach at the dish helped the squad get back on track.
“They were patient at the plate and looking for their pitch instead of just swinging at stuff,” Cougar co-coach Brenda Drake said.
Ella Frazier found her pitch in the top of the fifth, smacking an RBI single to deep center to bring in Alexa Johnson and provide all the scoring the Cougars needed. AGWSR added two more as a pickoff attempt throw to third squirted into left field, allowing Abbie Young and pinch runner Maddie Deters to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Madison Fryslie cranked a two-run double off the center field fence in the sixth to score Marissa Horner and Alexa Johnson, who connected on back-to-back singles up the middle.
“Get the bat head out in front, that’s what we stressed,” O’Brien said. “We knew they were going to come inside on us.”
Getting out in front on the scoreboard also seemed to help relax the Cougars, who played in three one-run contests over the weekend.
Meanwhile the Comets (8-4, 3-2) – who hadn’t given up a run in 32 innings – couldn’t muster the same clutch hits that helped them win two 1-0 games over the weekend.
“(AGWSR) must have seen the ball better than we did,” BCLUW coach Casey Moberly said. “They had some really good hard hits that found some gaps and we couldn’t do that tonight.”
Ashley Sicard tossed a three-hit shutout in seven innings, while striking out eight and walking one.
Olivia Callaway gave up three earned runs and walked two, while fanning a pair in seven frames in the loss.
The Comets had a couple scoring opportunities in the fourth and fifth. Kendall Scurr (2-for-3, 2 SB) hit a bloop single and stole second in the fourth, while Kayla Benjamin opened the fifth with a bunt single and moved into scoring position on Jessica deNeui’s sacrifice bunt – though both runners were left stranded.
AGWSR centerfielder Olivia Ingledue squashed the scoring threat in the fifth with a leaping snowcone catch, one of her two great grabs on the night.
“(Ingledue) made two great catches which could have been a rally-starter for us if they could have just gone over her,” BCLUW coach Casey Moberly said. “We just need to hit better – plain and simple.”
Morgan Rose and Sicard each singled to round out the Cougars’ six hits, while Sarah McCoy completed the Comets’ three-hit output with a single.
The Cougars battle Gladbrook-Reinbeck in back-to-back games hosting the Rebels Wednesday, before hitting the road Thursday.
BCLUW travels to West Marshall Tuesday and entertains Grundy Center Wednesday.
Both squads were involved in three games decided by one run at the David Lee Classic in Conrad Friday and Saturday. BCLUW defeated Class 2A No. 4 Sumner-Fredericksburg and Charles City by 1-0 tallies and lost to Marshalltown 2-1. AGWSR trumped Charles City 3-2, but lost to Sumner Fredericksburg 2-1 and Marshalltown 1-0. The Comets also defeated Gladbrook-Reinbeck 8-0 FridayElla Frazier threw out Scurr at second in the first inningBCLUW centerfielder Mallory Vawter made a leaping catch into the fence in the fourth inning, while Kendall Scurr swiped a hard grounder up the middle before diving to second to end the frame.