New London softball out-slugs Cardinal
ELDON — Cardinal put itself in good position for a win, but visiting New London got the hitting bug just in the nick of time Tuesday.
After scoring four runs in the first six innings of the Southeast Iowa Super Conference South softball game, the Tiger batters exploded for a five-run seventh to claim a 9-8 victory in Eldon.
“Our bats came together tonight, and it’s contagious. We’ve talked about that,” said New London coach Duane Blint. “We’ve been looking for those key hits all season long.”
The Tigers certainly got the key hits at the best possible time.
After surrendering a 5-4 lead to Cardinal in the bottom of the sixth inning, New London’s Josten Boyer opened the seventh with a single, and Sarah Holtkamp bunted home pitch runner Dani Holt to tie the game. Facing a full count and one out, Morgan Christner smacked a two-run single to take a 7-5 lead, and New London tacked on two more runs with RBI-singles by Victoria Noel and Emma Pry.
Cardinal responded with a big seventh inning of its own, but it wasn’t big enough as New London held the Comets to three more runs in the final frame.
With two outs and a runner on second base, New London starter Christner got the final out to preserve the one-run win.
“We made some mistakes,” Blint said. “The nerves are running a little high because it’s such a high-intensity game, but we feel we actually grew up tonight as a team,” said Blint. “We needed a game like this. We really did.”
The 9-8 outcome surprised the coaches in the two teams’ first meeting.
“We felt we’d have a low scoring game because we both have pretty good pitching,” Blint said. “The teams have two good freshmen (pitchers), and in the years to come this may turn into a little bit of a rivalry because both teams are both pretty young.”
The Comets will get another shot at the Tigers when they play again July 1 in New London.
Earlier in the game, New London scored first in the fourth inning when Kristen Allen plated a run on a fielder’s choice, but Cardinal came right back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth. New London answered with a three-run sixth inning before Cardinal again rallied with a two-run home run by Lindsey Davis in the sixth.
“We’ve had production at the top of the lineup, and tonight we finally got it in the middle and toward the bottom, and that’s where we needed it,” Blint added.
No. 5 hitter Noel provided two RBI and No. 6 Jorgi Krieger went 2-for-4 with a double. From the seven-hole, Pry was 3-for-4 with one RBI.
Leadoff hitter Sami Koontz had a double and two runs scored, and Caitlin Chiri was 3-for-4 and scored twice from the two-hole.
Christner picked up the win, going all seven innings and allowing six earned runs on 10 hits. The Tiger freshman punched out 10 Comets.
New London (9-5, 4-2 SEISC South) plays a varsity doubleheader in WACO today.