Prairie Lakes NH wins CC Church Softball League championship
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Sometimes you just play for the love of the game … even after the championship has been decided.
That’s what happened when Prairie Lakes New Hampton faced Immaculate Conception in the championship game of the Charles City Church Softball League, Tuesday night at Westwood Park.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Prairie Lakes NH attained a 10-run advantage over IC, which prompted a mercy-rule ending of the tournament and season.
But even with the clock past 10 p.m. — beyond the bedtime for some of the younger fans in attendance — both teams decided to continue play just to ensure the final game of the season went the seven-inning distance.
Prairie Lakes NH was the No. 3 seed in the 10-team single-elimination tournament, which was seeded according to regular-season records.
Prairie Lakes NH had three losses during the regular season, but they were due to not having a full lineup.
“Once we got everyone together, we got on a roll,” said Shawn Hackman of Prairie Lakes NH.
One of the rules that sets the CC Church Softball League apart from most other adult softball leagues is the pitcher’s circle rule that avoids plays at the plate. If the team on the field can get the ball to a teammate within the pitcher’s circle, runners who have not reached the base they were advancing to are forced to go back a base.
This puts a lot of emphasis on base-running speed, which was one of the reasons why Prairie Lakes NH was able to build its lead.
Hackman and several of his teammates were able to leg out inside-the-park home runs during the championship game.
Prairie Lakes NH also got an “outside-the-park” home run from Jaden Foster.
Other members of Prairie Lakes NH include John Epperly, Shea Epperly, Tyler Hansen, Nick Valentini, Calvin Zimmerman, Treyce Orr, Cory Orr, Krista Hackman, Debbie Warterlander and Mark Waterlander.