Clutch defense and clutch offense lead Comets to victories in regular-season finales
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Staying alive this late into the high school baseball and softball seasons doesn’t apply only to the teams which have started district and regional play.
Even though both Charles City teams don’t start their postseasons until this weekend — the Comet baseball team will play Decorah at Decorah on Friday in the Class 3A-District 6 semifinals; the Comet softball team will host either Waterloo East or Center Point-Urbana on Saturday in the Class 4A-Region 4 semifinals — just getting through the regular season was an act of survival.
As of early this week, 57 Iowa baseball and softball teams have had their seasons ended or suspended due to COVID-19 exposure.
On Monday, both Comet teams completed their fraught regular seasons with dramatic come-from-behind home victories.
After the Comet softball team utilized some clutch defense to hold off Northeast Iowa Conference rival New Hampton in a 6-4 final, the Comet baseball team was propelled by some clutch offense while rallying late to catch and overcome Vinton-Shellsburg 4-3 in a non-conference matchup.
In the softball game, the visiting Chickasaws led 4-2 through four innings. After the Comets rallied to take the lead through five, New Hampton power-hitter Kacey Olson hit a shot to deep-centerfield off Charles City starter Dani Reetz.
Sophomore center fielder Lydia Staudt got a good jump on the ball while going back and made a leaping catch at the warning track to rob Olson of extra bases — maybe four bases as the ball may have been able to clear the fense.
In the top of the seventh, the Chickasaws managed to get the first hitter on and was spoiling for a big inning as Reetz got behind 2-0 to the following hitter, Rachel Rinken. Reetz worked the count to 2-2 before Rinken hit a line shot back up the circle only for it to be snared by Reetz, who doubled up the runner at first.
Reetz got behind the next hitter 2-0 but battled back to record the game-ending strikeout for her ninth win of the season.
The Comets closed the regular season at 11-3 overall and 9-2 in the NEIC.
In the baseball game, the Comets were down 3-0 through five innings before scoring 1 in the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, an RBI single by Jeremiah Chapman drew the Comets within 1 (3-2). With two outs and Chapman on second, Tait Arndt lifted a long flyball to left-centerfield that got lost in the lights and fell untouched.
That easily scored Chapman while placing Arndt in scoring position (Arndt was replaced by a pinch runner).
With the Vikings’ defensive alignment giving Atticus Parrott a whole acre in right field from the foul line in, Parrott hit a soft liner to the open area — couldn’t have thrown it in better — to send home in the winning run.
Parrott, who came in to relieve Arndt in the fourth inning after the Vikings took their 3-0 lead, picked up the win on the mound and improved to 2-0.
The walk-off victory broke a four-game skid for the Comets, who finished the regular season at 8-8.
CENTRAL SPRINGS 5, CHARLES CITY 2: On Friday, the Class 2A-No. 6-ranked Panthers rallied for 3 runs in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie and held on for a non-conference softball victory.
Kaylea Fessler had two hits a 2 RBIs for Central Springs.
Allie Cross had two hits for the Comets.
CHARLES CITY 4, VINTON-SHELLSBURG 3
VINTON-SHELLSBURG AB R H BI CHARLES CITY AB R H BI
Quinn Cornell 4 0 1 1 Jeremiah Chapman 4 1 1 1
Payton Haefner 3 1 1 0 JJ Ritter 4 1 1 0
Charlie Dudley 3 0 1 0 Tait Arndt 4 0 1 1
Brooks Erickson 3 0 0 0 Atticus Parrott 4 0 1 1
Wes Mott 3 1 1 0 Jaxon Daniels 3 0 1 0
Brad Cornell 3 1 1 0 Tino Tamayo 3 0 2 1
Cameron Karr 3 0 0 1 Logan Carey 3 0 0 0
Hunter Hazen 3 0 0 0 Colton Crooks 2 1 0 0
Tanner Rodman 1 0 0 0 Cael Bohlen 3 0 0 0
*Owen Weber 0 1 0 0
TOTALS 26 3 5 2 TOTALS 30 4 6 4
VINTON-SHELLSBURG 021 000 0 — 3
CHARLES CITY 000 001 3 — 4
LOB–VINTON-SHELLSBURG 5, CHARLES CITY 7. ERR–Hunter Hazen
(2), Brooks Erickson, Cameron Karr, Brad Cornell, JJ Ritter.
2B–Wes Mott, JJ Ritter, Tino Tamayo, Jaxon Daniels, Tait Arndt.
SB–Payton Haefner (2), Cameron Karr, Wes Mott, Brad
Cornell, Charlie Dudley (2), Jeremiah Chapman.
VINTON-SHELLSBURG IP H R ER BB SO HR
Travis Hantz 6.33 4 2 0 1 8 0
Wes Mott (L) 0.33 2 2 0 0 0 0
Tait Arndt 3.00 4 3 2 2 3 0
Atticus Parrott (W) 4.00 1 0 0 1 5 0
PB–Quinn Cornell, Landon Luft. SO–Hunter Hazen (2), Brooks
Erickson (2), Payton Haefner, Brad Cornell (2), Tanner
Rodman, Cael Bohlen (3), Logan Carey (2), JJ Ritter, Jaxon
Daniels, Atticus Parrott. BB–Payton Haefner, Tanner Rodman
(2), Colton Crooks.