The fourth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond softball team showed Wednesday night that they can win games even when they are not at their best.
Behind a dramatic late-inning rally, the Gaels earned a 5-4 victory in nine innings over Eagle Grove at Rogers Park.
After Maggie Harvey tied the game at 3-all with a double to deep center in the seventh, the Eagles (11-10 overall, 1-9 in North Central Conference) went back up in the top of the ninth on a base hit by Josie Robertson that plated Bailey Boyer.
In the home half of the ninth, though, Jaci Stumpf singled, went from first-to-third on a sacrifice by Anna Yung, and scored on a ball hit to center that found the grass.
Jessica Kuebler, who had three base hits on the night, ended the game by plating Harvey, sending St. Edmond (16-3, 10-1) to its eighth straight conference win.
"It's always scary when you give up an early lead to a league opponent," SEHS head coach Paul Hunt said. "Eagle Grove came out and put the ball in play and got after it. But, I credit our girls for not hanging their heads and battling back.
ST. EDMOND 5, EAGLE GROVE 4
Eagle Grove300 000 001 - 4 9 2
St. Edmond000 200 102 - 5 13 1
Heather Wilson (L, 1-5, 8+ IP, 5 R, 3 ER, 13 H, 3 K, 1 BB) and Sam Kruckenberg; Amanda Lansman (3 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 K), Katie Donnelly (4, W, 12-2, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 H, 5 K) and Maggie Harvey. 2B-EG: Kruckenberg; SE: Harvey. MH-EG: Lexi Miller (2), Bailey Boyer (2), Kylee Almond (3); SE: Jaci Stumpf (2), Anna Yung (2), Allie Oberg (2), Jessica Kuebler (3). RBI-EG: Boyer, Almond, Kruckenberg, Josie Robertson; SE: Harvey, Kuebler, Josie Heesch. SB-EG: Miller, Boyer, Almond; SE: Stumpf.
"This was a gritty, hard-nosed win, and we'll take it."
Katie Donnelly entered in the fourth and earned her 12th victory of the year in the circle, striking out five. Stumpf, Yung and Allie Oberg each had two hits for the Gaels, who improved to 9-0 on their home diamond this year and 22-2 over the past two seasons.
"We've got some girls banged up right now and I tried to give them a little rest with us being in the middle of a five-game week," Hunt said. "I thought our younger kids like (starting pitcher) Amanda Lansman and (third baseman) Megan Flattery did a great job."
For Eagle Grove, Kylee Almond had three hits, while Lexi Miller and Boyer each had two.
"We've been playing much better as of late," EGHS head coach Jim McLaughlin said. "We played Bishop Garrigan to a 2-1 loss, and Webster City to a 2-0 loss, and now this game. Our girls are getting better, we just haven't been able to get over that hump in the conference.
"We are 1-9 in the NCC and 10-1 in all other games."
After Eagle Grove plated three in the first off four hits, St. Edmond responded with two in the fourth before tying in with a one-out rally in the seventh.
The Gaels return to action today at Greene County, while the Eagles meet Clarion-Goldfield on the road.