Strike Out Cancer Night turned out to be a dramatic one for the St. Edmond softball team here Friday.
Pushed to the limit late, the Gaels (15-8 overall, 9-3 in the league) narrowly escaped with a 6-4 North Central Conference home triumph over Bishop Garrigan at Rogers Sports Complex.
After watching the scrappy Golden Bears (12-12, 7-7) load the bases with two outs in the top of the seventh, SEHS junior hurler Katie Donnelly worked out of a jam with a clutch strikeout looking to end the game.
"Katie always keeps her cool and doesn't get too high or too low," St. Edmond head coach Paul Hunt said. "She did a nice job of throwing strikes against a good hitting Bishop Garrigan ballclub, which we already saw the first time around (the Gaels dropped a 5-4 decision in Algona their previous meeting this season)."
Freshman Jaci Stumpf and classmate Anna Yung highlighted the SEHS offensive charge with two hits and two stolen bases apiece. Stumpf also scored three times, while Yung crossed the dish twice. Senior Lexi Peed, and sophomores Cassie Sells and Jessica Kuebler each belted doubles for the green and white, and Stumpf added a triple.
"It was nice to see our bats come alive again," said Hunt, whose squad had gone through a 4-4 stretch over its previous eight games before Friday. "Even though six runs isn't always enough to win, it always should be enough to win. Our defense really stepped up and made all the plays behind Katie, too."
ST. EDMOND 6, BISHOP GARRIGAN 4
Bishop Garrigan 020 002 0-4 13 0
St. Edmond 230 100 x-6 9 0
Kristin Condoleon (L, 10-11; 6 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and Kara Eischen; Katie Donnelly (W, 13-5; 7 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) and Jessica Kuebler.
2B-BG: Condoleon, Eischen; SE: Lexi Peed, Cassie Sells, Kuebler. 3B-SE: Jaci Stumpf. HR-BG: Betty Straub. MH-BG: Emily Bell (3), Condoleon (3), Kaitlyn Fogarty (3); SE: Stumpf (2), Anna Yung (2). SB-BG: Fogarty; SE: Stumpf (2), Yung (2), Sells. CS-SE: Yung. LOB-BG: 9; SE: 4. DP-SE: 1.
Donnelly (13-5) went the distance in the circle, scattering 13 hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. The Fort Dodge Senior High transfer slammed the door on another potential Golden Bear scoring threat in the sixth with a strikeout looking, stranding runners on first and second.
Emily Bell, Kristin Condoleon and Kaitlyn Fogarty all notched three hits for Garrigan, which left nine runners on base, including five in scoring position. Condoleon scored twice as well, while Betty Straub launched a two-run long ball - the first of her varsity career - over the fence in left-center field in the second inning.
St. Edmond also received a boost to its lineup Friday with the return of junior standout Allie Oberg (left wrist injury). Oberg, a No. 3 hitter and designated player, was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly after being sidelined for the previous 16 games.
"Getting Allie back is a huge asset," Hunt said. "With a full slate of conference games coming up this next week, it's exciting to have our lineup returning to full strength."
Next up for the Gaels is a NCC home clash with Humboldt (14-8, 9-5) on Monday. SEHS breezed to a 14-1 four-inning thumping of the Wildcats in their earlier matchup.