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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

Cardinal takes down Van Buren in rivalry game

Leadoff hitter Adam scores three times for Comets
By ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger sports editor | Jun 03, 2014
Photo by: ALLYUS FRITZ/Ledger photo Lexi Fullenkamp delivers a pitch for the Comets Monday at Cardinal High School in Eldon.

A Cassidy McMartin dive in the hole at shortstop was a microcosm of Cardinal’s softball game Monday in Eldon against Van Buren.

McMartin dove for a grounder, and the greenish-yellow ball found the webbing of her glove. Leaping to her feet, she fired across the diamond to first base. The runner was safe, but McMartin was up to the task. The challenge of beating a rival was freshly renewed, and Cardinal was up for it, while the Warriors struggled. The Comets were victorious 10-1.

“It felt good,” Cardinal sophomore pitcher Lexi Fullenkamp said. “We always hate when we lose to them, so it’s great that we got the win.”

Fullenkamp was the cog that made the Cardinal machine roll, pitching all seven innings and striking out seven. Through six games, Fullenkamp has pitched every inning for the Comets. Her ERA stands at 3.23, and her four hit, one walk performance Monday proved too much for the Warriors.

“We just didn’t make adjustments at the plate,” Van Buren coach Eric Speer said. “[Fullenkamp] was working us a lot outside, so we scooted up on the plate for an inning, and that worked. But then she made an adjustment, and we didn’t [combat] that.”

A Jessie McElderry sacrifice fly in the first inning drove in Alexis Adam to get the scoring rolling for Cardinal. McElderry had two RBI in the game and Adam scored three runs. Adam, just like she did in the first inning, reached on an error in the third inning. This error played a large roll in Cardinal scoring four runs in the third.

“We need to work on our defense, for sure,” Speer said. “When you make a few errors in an inning, you go from a hill you’re trying to climb to a huge mountain, and its tough to keep your confidence up.”

Carlie Bennett went 1-3 with a two RBI single in the third. Ninth-place hitter Shelby Smith went 2-3 with a triple, two runs scored and a RBI. Seven different Comets drove in a run.

“We started off slow again, but once our bats get going we can’t be stopped,” Cardinal coach Hillary Droz said. “It’s just about getting to that point.”

As for the Warriors, Alicia Fitzsimmons pitched six innings, walked three and struck out two. Taylor Murguia went 1-3 with a RBI single. Caitlyn Millard had two hits and leadoff hitter Libby King scored their only run.

Van Buren (2-4) travels to Central Lee tonight while Cardinal (4-2) will make the trip to play Harmony.

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