The Charles City softball team has steadily climbed the Class 4A ratings over the course of the season.
With a 30-0 record entering play on Monday, the Comets – the lone remaining undefeated team in the state -- edged up to second in the latest poll, but veteran coach Brian Bohlen knows the tournament is just around the corner.
On Monday, Charles City got possibly the best test it could have before the tournament in the form of Crestwood pitcher Laken Lienhard, and the Comets passed with flying colors in a 5-0 win.
“Laken is a heck of a pitcher,” Bohlen said. “But this team has the right attitude.”
Charles City has its own dominant pitcher, Samantha Heyer, who is fifth in the state in earned run average at 0.36.
Heyer was on from the start as she struck out 14 and did not allow a Cadet to move beyond second base.
Heyer’s 14 strikeouts give her 300 on the season, which is second in the state.
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Lienhard entered the game with the 11th-best ERA at 0.59 and was fourth in strikeouts with 257.
With runs likely hard to come by, Charles City’s ability to manufacture runs would be a huge factor.
Lisabeth Fiser, who bats .608 and had stolen 49 bases entering the game, gave the Comets a big 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when she slapped a single to left, stole second, stole third and scored on an errant throw.
Fiser scratched out the Comets’ second run two innings later when she reached first on a bunt single and never slowed down as the throw skipped past first base. Fiser took second and third on the error and scored on another misdirected throw.
“Liz is such a threat in the leadoff spot,” Bohlen said. “She puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
The victory gives Charles City an undefeated Northeast Iowa Conference title.
The Comets (31-0) return to the diamond on Wednesday when they entertain Sumner-Fredricksburg.