Gaels clinch at least share of NCC title

St. Edmond continued its strange trip toward a North Central Conference softball crown Wednesday with a pair of wins at Rogers Park.

Playing games against two different foes for the second straight day, the No. 6 (2A) Gaels stayed unbeaten in the conference with an 8-3 win over Clear Lake and a 5-1 victory over Webster City.

St. Edmond prevailed in games at Clarion and Humboldt Tuesday.

The Gaels moved to 26-4 overall and 15-0 in the league and will take on two foes again on Wednesday, playing Bishop Garrigan in Algona at 10 a.m. and then at Hampton-Dumont tonight to close out the regular season.

A win in either game will give the Gaels the outright NCC championship.

“That was a good win (against Webster City),” said Gael coach Paul Hunt. “These girls are a resilient group. Last August, we started going into the weight room three days a week and a lot of these girls are multiple sport athletes. They’d get home late from games and be there every day. We’ve taken that work ethic into this season.”

Hunt said the Gaels are not only eyeing winning the conference title, they’ve set a goal to finish out unbeaten.

“We’ve had that monkey on our back of finishing second or tying for second since I’ve been here. Our goal is to run the table. I’m just excited we’ve put ourselves in a position to do that,” he said.

Junior Amanda Lansman ran her mark to 24-4, scattering four hits. She fanned seven, including striking out the side in the sixth inning.

The Gaels backed her with eight hits, including a three-for-three night from Anna Yung and two hits from Jessica Kuebler.

The Gaels used a three-run third inning to break a 1-1 tie. The Gaels scored two runs on an error and Lansman had an RBI single.

St. Edmond got a RBI single from Kuebler in the first inning and another run scored on a passed ball in the sixth.

The Lynx scored their only run in the third on an RBI groundout by Abby Fuhs.

Webster City also played two games against two different foes Wednesday, beating Eagle Grove 11-8 earlier in the day. The Lynx, now 15-17, host Iowa Falls-Alden today and finish the season Monday at Algona.

“I’d just like to see us play a complete game,” said Webster City coach Jess Howard. “We always seem to have that one inning that trips us up. I’d rather see the other team beat us than us beating ourselves.”

The Gaels got out of the gates early against Clear Lake Wednesday morning, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first.

St. Edmond strung together four straight hits to open the game.

The Gaels added three runs in the bottom of the sixth on a three-run double from Kuebler. St. Edmond finished with 11 hits. Kuebler had three hits.

The Gaels also swiped 10 bases against the Lions.

Shannon Flattery went the distance for the Gaels, getting the win.

“We’ve been able to rely on some girls without a lot of varsity experience the past few days,” said Hunt. “Every girl we have has played some meaningful innings the last couple days. I trust all our girls and I know they’ll do a good job.”