On any given night, and at any point in the lineup, St. Edmond softball head coach Paul Hunt feels comfortable with whoever is at the plate.
Wednesday night, the bat was in the hands of No. 9 hitter Jessica Kuebler and the junior delivered, belting a three-RBI double to deep right-center that provided the winning runs in an 8-5 victory for the sixth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels over No. 8 (3A) Iowa Falls-Alden.
Kuebler finished 2-for-3, while eighth-grader Maggie Harvey had three hits in helping St. Edmond (11-2 overall, 7-1 in North Central Conference) avenge an earlier season setback to the Cadets (8-4, 4-2).
"One-through-nine, they all can hit," Hunt said. "Even our No. 10 and No. 11 hitters can get the job done.
"(Wednesday) night it was Jessica Kuebler. We've asked a lot of her, moving from catcher to first base this year. Through it all, she's continued to improve each day and is a great player."
Katie Donnelly (8-2) pushed her season-long strikeout total to 66, scattering five hits. It was her intangibles that Hunt was impressed by last night.
ST. EDMOND 8, IOWA FALLS-ALDEN 5
Iowa Falls-Alden004 010 0 - 5 5 3
St. Edmond320 030 x - 8 11 1
Lindsay Barnhart (L, 5-4, 6 IP, 5 ER, 11 H, 7 K) and Breanna Keane; Katie Donnelly (W, 8-2, 7 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 1 BB) and Maggie Harvey. 2B - SE: Harvey, Jessica Kuebler. MH - IFA: Brittney Hammond (2); SE: Harvey (3), Allie Oberg (2), Kuebler (2). RBI - IFA: Hammond, Barnhart, Keane; SE: Jaci Stumpf, Harvey, Kuebler (3). SB - IFA: Hammond, Barnhart, Keane, Shanaya Schutt, Taylor Ackermann; SE: Stumpf, Cassie Sells (2).
"Katie gets everybody in the correct position all the time," he said. "She knows what everyone needs to do and where they need to be. Her abilities on the diamond go beyond just being a great pitcher."
The Gaels quickly plated three runs in the first inning off Iowa Falls-Alden ace Lindsay Barnhart, as Jaci Stumpf singled, Anna Yung reached on an error and Harvey had her first hit with an RBI single.
Both Stumpf and Yung would later score, as St. Edmond provided Donnelly a quick lead. They added two more in the second, as both Brigid Hanley and Kuebler came across home.
"We really got after it," Hunt said. "Maggie had a great game at the plate, and we made (Barnhart) work out there.
"We've just got to continue applying pressure, which we did in the fifth there again. It was great to see the girls come back after that (four-run third inning) and rally back."
Cassie Sells recorded two steals, while Allie Oberg connected on two hits and Hanley scored twice.
The Cadets had their three-game win streak snapped. During that time, they had outscored the opposition 45-3.
St. Edmond will put its five-game win streak on the line tonight when they travel to Algona. First-pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.