Newman Catholic and Mason City met for a classic east vs. west, big school vs. small school rivalry game on the diamond on Tuesday night at the Mason City softball field.
In the end, a five-run fourth inning proved to be the difference in a 10-5 Newman Catholic non-conference win over Mason City.
"A whole bunch of girls made big plays over the course of the night," Newman Catholic coach Tom Dunn said. "We had key hits when we needed them and key defensive plays."
The Knights got out to an early 1-0 lead after one inning when Faith Wadle drove in a runner before being thrown out at second base.
Then, Ellie Determan hit a two RBI single in the top of the third to make the score 3-0 after three innings.
The game was blown wide open when the Knights scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning. Leah Martinez hit a two RBI single and Wadle followed it up with a three-run homerun over left center.
Suddenly, the Mohawks found themselves in an 8-0 hole heading into the bottom of the fourth.
"Any time you do that, especially against a bigger school when you're on the road, to put a five-spot up is always huge," Dunn said.
The Mohawks started to chip away at the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Emma Rickers hit an RBI single to make the score 8-1. The Knights scored one more in the top of the fifth and the Mohawks scored two in the bottom of the frame to make the score 9-3 heading into the sixth inning.
Aubri Graven had the biggest moment of the night for Mason City when she hit an RBI triple and then scored herself off an error at home plate on the same play. That made the score 9-5 after six innings.
But Newman Catholic was able to score another run in the top of the seventh and put the Mohawks away.
"We've really been struggling this year. We have a lot of young kids, but at this point and time, when you play nine or 10 games, hopefully that young-ness starts to get over with," Mason City head coach Bob Horner said. "Right now, we need to play with some more confidence."
Wadle led the Knights at the plate with two hits, a homerun and four RBIs. For Mason City, Rickers had two hits and an RBI.
The Knights improved to 12-1 on the season and the Mohawks fell to 1-10.
Although the crosstown rivalry game is always important, Tuesday night's matchup was important in more ways than one. The two teams wore special jerseys, held an auction and ended up raising $780 for the American Cancer Society.
"This was more than a softball game," Horner said. "Cancer has touched my family personally with my son just having cancer and me this past year-and-a-half. I was just diagnosed. Just got done with radiation. Like I told the girls, when we're playing this cancer game, it's a lot more than just a game."
Gunnar Davis covers sports. Reach him via email at Gunnar.Davis@GlobeGazette.com or by phone 641-421-0598.