Comets make statement at State, come from behind to win 3rd-place game
By John Burbridge
FORT DODGE — Taking advantage of an errant pitch, Charles City junior Alex Litterer raced home from third base scoring the winning run in a 6-5 extra-inning final against West Delaware in the Class 4A third-place game at the State Softball Championships on Friday.
For the Comets, the eight-inning international tiebreaker victory capped their season at 37-4 and resulted in the best placement showing at the tournament for Charles City since taking second in Class 3A in 1995.
It was the second time during the tournament where the Comets were forced to come from behind late in the game before pulling out the victory. In the opener against Dallas Center-Grimes, Charles City scored the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the seventh to win 3-2 and advance to the semifinals.
Against the Hawks in the third-place game, the Comets found themselves down 4-1 after West Delaware rallied for 4 runs in the top half of the second, and trailed 5-2 after five full innings.
Charles City scored twice in the sixth, then tied it in the seventh on Allie Cross’s sacrifice fly that scored Rachel Chambers from third.
After Litterer’s liner was snagged by Hawk third baseman Ella Koloc to end the seventh with the score tied, Litterer was subsequently placed on second to start the bottom eighth of the international tiebreaker format the tournament uses for consolation and third-place games.
Kiki Connell followed with an infield single to place runners on the corners, then later advanced to second with a stolen base. With first base open, the Hawks opted to walk Sami Heyer to load the bases with no outs.
While facing Sadie Gebel, Macey Kleitcsh — who came in to relieve West Delaware starter Emily Klostermann in the seventh — bounced an inside pitch past her catcher allowing Litterer and the Comets passage to victory.
Both teams were coming off heartbreaking losses in the semis. Against No. 2-seed North Scott on Wednesday, the Comets had a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh before the Lancers scored 2 unearned runs to force extra innings and eventually won 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth.
The semifinal game before, the Hawks lost to No. 1-seed Carlisle in the bottom of the eighth when Wildcat junior Kennedy Preston hit a two-out, two-strike pitch over the left-field fence for a 2-run homer in a 7-6 final.
“You look at the three games we played down here … they were decided by a combined total of 3 runs,” Charles City head coach Brian Bohlen said. “That’s how close the competition is here.”
The Class 4A championship game was also a close one with Carlisle edging North Scott 1-0.
After suffering the loss in the semis, the Comets got out of (Fort) Dodge … at least for one day.
“We traveled back to Charles City and held a practice on Thursday,” Bohlen said. “We worked on some things, and then we took a shuttle bus back down here today. We came ready to play.”
Hitting stars for the Comets in their final game of the season included freshman Chambers, who was 2 for 3 including a solo home run in the first inning to open the scoring. Connell had two hits and scored a run, and Cross and Gebel each had hits and RBIs.
But it was the Comets’ defense — especially in the latter innings when they were trying to chase down a deficit — that enabled them to leave the tournament on a high note.
In the fourth inning, Connell gunned down Tehya Demmer at home plate after she tried to score on a single to right field by Eve Wedewer.
The following inning, Lydia Staudt made a running catch on Claire Demmer’s line drive heading toward the gap in right-center that looked like it was going to drive 2 runs home.
Then with runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the international tiebreaker eighth, Tehya Demmer hit a liner back at Comet starting pitcher Heyer, who was able to deflect it to keep it in the infield yet it didn’t seem it was going to prevent the Hawks from scoring. But junior second baseman Lisabeth Fiser was able to quickly field the ball and throw to first to nip Demmer at the bag for the 1-4-3 putout.
With Heyer — who picked up her state-leading 35th win of the season — being the lone graduating senior, the Comets were one of the youngest teams at the state tournament in all classes. But according to Bohlen, this Comet team is in a class by itself in regards to school history.
“This is the best team I ever coached,” said Bohlen, who picked up his 400th coaching win earlier this season, “and this may be the best team in program history.”
CHARLES CITY 6, WEST DELAWARE 5
WD AB R H BI CC AB R H BI
Eve Wedewer 4 0 2 0 Lisabeth Fiser 4 0 1 0
Ella Koloc 4 1 1 0 Lydia Staudt 4 0 0 0
Macey Kleitsch 4 0 0 0 Rachel Chambers 3 2 2 1
Heather Heims 4 1 0 0 Ashlyn Hoeft 3 0 0 0
Eva Winn 2 1 0 0 Allie Cross 4 1 1 1
Claire Demmer 3 1 1 2 Alex Litterer 3 1 0 0
JoAnna Voss 3 1 1 0 Kiki Connell 3 1 2 0
Tehya Demmer 3 0 0 1 Samantha Heyer 2 0 0 0
Leah Wegmann 2 0 0 1 Sadie Gebel 3 0 1 1
*Emma Grimm 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 29 5 5 4 TOTALS 29 6 7 3
WEST DELAWARE 040 010 00 — 5
CHARLES CITY 110 002 11 — 6
LOB–WEST DELAWARE 7, CHARLES CITY 10. ERR–Leah Wegmann, Ella Koloc (2), Lydia Staudt. HR–Rachel Chambers. HBP–JoAnna Voss, Eva Winn. SACB–Leah Wegmann, Eva Winn, Alex Litterer. SB–JoAnna Voss, Ella Koloc, Rachel Chambers, Kiki Connell.
WEST DELAWARE IP H R ER BB SO HR
Macey Kleitsch 1.00 1 0 0 1 0 0
Emily Klostermann 6.00 6 5 2 4 4 1
Samantha Heyer 8.00 5 5 3 2 7 0
PB–Ashlyn Hoeft (3). WP–Macey Kleitsch (2), Emily
Klostermann, Samantha Heyer (4). BALK–Samantha Heyer. SO–Leah Wegmann, Macey Kleitsch, Heather Heims (3), JoAnna Voss, Claire Demmer, Samantha Heyer, Ashlyn Hoeft, Lydia Staudt (2). BB–Tehya Demmer, Claire Demmer, Samantha Heyer (2), Rachel Chambers, Kiki Connell, Ashlyn Hoeft.
NOTES: Umpires: P-Tim Rogers, 1B-Tony Nelson, 3B-Tony Sauer
LOCATION: Rogers Park