Comets combat West Branch

Norv and Mary Coblentz · Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The West Liberty Comets softball team won the Norm Mitts Classic Saturday, June 28, by beating Winfield Mt. Union 17-0 and Camanche 4-1.

Camanche beat Winfield-Mt. Union 13-0. Comets' catcher Audra Bridenstine was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy.

A split double-header was the result of the Comets' June 27 trip to West Branch. The Comets dropped game one 12-11 after getting a big lead in early innings. West Liberty won the second game 12-5.

"Just another one of those games, you want to forget that first one," West Liberty Head Coach Dave Reynolds said. "We just stunk the whole way. Everybody on the team had a hand in losing that game. I can't point to one kid, we just didn't play well.

"The second game, I thought we played pretty well, other than a couple of errors. We hit the ball pretty well, were patient at the plate, got some key walks in situations, ran the bases pretty well. Kyleigh Becker pitched an excellent game. She kept them off-balance even though her change-up wasn't working. She was pitching them in and out and kept them from hitting it real hard too much."

The Comets started off hitting hot, scoring six runs in the first inning. Tatum Koenig got a one-out walk. Audra Bridenstine singled, and the next batter flied out. Hailey Cox singled, and Koenig scored. Haddie Anderson was hit by a pitch. Merideth Nichols reached on an error. Shelby Rock doubled, scoring Bridenstine and Cox. Becker doubled, scoring Rock. The next batter popped out to end the half-inning. West Branch did not score in the first inning.

The Comets scored two more runs in the top of the second. Koenig led off with a single. The next batter popped out foul. Koenig stole second base. A homerun by Hailey Daufeldt, scoring two runs. Cox walked, but the next two batters were out. West Branch did not score in the bottom of the second. The Bears scored four in the third and three in the fourth, leaving the Comets with an 8-7 lead.

West Liberty scored three more runs in the fifth inning. Rock walked to lead off, and Becker singled, putting runners at first and second. Kaalberg got a bunt single to load the bases. The next two batters flied out. A single by Daufeldt scored Rock. With Cox at the plate, Becker scored on a passed ball. Kaalberg took third and home on passed balls. Cox walked, and the next batter grounded out to end the Comet threat. West Liberty had an 11-7 lead.

West Branch scored five in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 12-11 lead that was ultimately enough to win the game. The Comets were retired in order in the sixth and had one baserunner in the seventh, Bridenstine, who had a two-out walk.

The Comets played a better game in game two and got the win.

"The first game, I think that's a perfect example of what the kids are about," West Branch Head Coach Kevin Kaalberg said. "We got down eight. They had us buried in the first two innings. Our kids just never quit. It's what they've been doing all year. To come back and win that first game is a tribute to our kids and their work ethic.

"The second game, they got up again. We made another run at them. We ran out of gas. You've got to tip your cap to West Liberty. They hit the ball pretty well."

Kaalberg led off the second game with an infield single. She was out on a fielder's choice, and that batter was caught stealing second. A pop out ended the Comet first with no score. The Bears had a one-out walk in the bottom of the second, but a pop out and a groundout ended the first inning with no score.

The Comets put their first three runs of the game on the board in the second inning. Daufeldt led off with a walk. Cox also drew a base on balls, and there were two Comets on board. The next batter flied out. Breanna Thurness bunted, and the bases were loaded. With Rock at the plate, Daufeldt scored. Rock grounded out for the second out, but she left two runners in scoring position. Becker singled to right field, and Cox and Thurness scored. The next batter flied out, but West Liberty had a 3-0 lead.

Becker struck out the first Bear she faced in the second inning. The next batter walked but was tagged out trying to take second base. Becker got a strikeout to end the inning.

Koenig doubled to lead off the top of the third for the Comets. She took third base on a groundout. Daufeldt singled. With Cox at the plate, Koenig stole home, and Daufeldt stole second and third. Cox struck out. A single by Anderson scored Daufeldt. The next batter grounded out, but the Comets had a 5-0 lead.

West Branch got three runs back in the bottom of the third. They scored on two singles, a fielder's choice and a double. Becker added another strikeout to her total to end the inning. The Comets still led, though only by two runs.

There was no score in the fourth, although Kaalberg had a two-out walk and stole second and third bases. She was left on base after a groundout. Becker started the bottom of the forth with two strikeouts. The next batter doubled. A walk put runners on first and second, but a groundout ended the Bears' chance.

West Liberty scored two runs in the fifth. Daufeldt got a two-out single. She stole second base. Cox walked. Anderson doubled, scoring Daufeldt and putting runners at second and third. Anderson scored on a Thurness groundout. The next batter lined out to the pitcher. West Liberty had a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.

The Bears put another run on the board in the bottom half. They scored on a walk, an error, a couple of passed balls and a single. Three fly outs left two Bears on base.

The Comets put two more runs on the board in the top of the sixth. Kaalberg bunted with one out for a single. Koenig doubled, putting runners at second and third. Bridenstine singled, scoring Kaalberg and Koenig. Daufeldt singled, and the next batter popped out. Anderson hit into a fielder's choice, and Bridenstine was tagged out between second and third.

The Bears scored their last run of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a hit batsman, two singles and a walk.

The Comets put three nails in the coffin in the top of the seventh. The first batter grounded out. Brookelyn Harned singled, then Becker singled to put runners at first and second. Kaalberg earned a base on balls to load the bases. Koenig walked, scoring Harned. The next batter lined out. Daufeldt singled, and Becker scored. With Cox at the plate, Kaalberg scored on a passed ball. Cox walked, but the next batter grounded out, bringing up the bottom of the seventh.

A fly out, a pop out, and a groundout was all the Bears mustered in the bottom of the seventh, giving the Comets a 12-5 win.
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