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Little Hawks' softball down Saints

BY CARLOS SOSA | JUNE 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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City High found itself playing a one-sided game until the third inning, when catcher Shelby Yoder took a knee to the helmet while trying to steal second.

That collision sparked a 6-4 Little Hawk win against the Cedar Rapids Xavier Saints on Tuesday night at City High.

"The girls battled back tonight and came up with hits when we needed them," assistant coach Jamie Henze said. "We're a power-hitting team, and we've been practicing on our hitting, not popping up. We're just trying to keep the ball on the ground."

The game developed slowly, but the Little Hawks managed to stay competitive. They had a few innings with no offense but responded when they needed to.

"We're so evenly matched with Xavier that it's always good to win one against them," junior pitcher Erin Weno said.

During the first two innings, the Little Hawks struggled to produce runs. They managed 2 hits but stranded three runners.

Then came Yoder's attempt to steal second in the bottom of the third.

One of the biggest hits of the game came after Yoder tried to steal second. Weno stepped to bat with the game tied 1-1 and City High in need of some life.

Weno, who went 1-2 with 2 RBIs, smacked a home run over the left field scoreboard that scored 2 runs and tied the game. The long ball gave City High a much-needed boost.

"It was a big momentum shift in the game," head coach Gary Fickel said. "Breaking the tie to go up 3-1, it really got us going."

The defense struggled with a few mental lapses that resulted in two costly errors. The offense needed to step up to compensate for the fielding shortages.

And it did.

The fourth inning saw no hits and no runs for either team, but the last two innings of the game were quite different.

Xavier dominated the fifth inning. Its first three hitters all reached base safely. The Saints finished the inning with 2 runs on 3 hits to tie the game at 3.

Then the Little Hawk offense surged again. Saint junior pitcher Jacey Wiebold walked her first batter, then gave up 2 hits to load the bases. Wiebold had been pitching a solid game with five strikeouts and five hits. But the Little Hawks regained momentum when Bri Hightshoe stepped up to the plate.

Hightshoe, a junior shortstop, hit a bases-clearing double to give City the lead for good.

"In practice, we've been playing pressure games, so we know what to do," she said. "We have to hit the ball."

The Little Hawks finished the game with 6 runs on 9 hits. Weno assisted the offense on the mound with a solid pitching performance; even though she allowed 8 hits, she finished the game with 2 strikeouts and dominated when she needed to.

"I'm happy with the team," Fickel said. "They played really, really solid tonight. We hit nice pitches, hustled on the base paths, and that'll lead to a lot of wins."


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