Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2017

Trojans fall in heartbreaker

Walk-off single knocks Fairfield softball team out in quarterfinals
By Andy Krutsinger, Golden Triangle News Service | Jul 19, 2017
Photo by: ANDY KRUTSINGER/GTNS photo Kaylee Watson celebrates her third inning home run as she rounds second base.

UPDATE: Fairfield lost its second game of the tournament earlier today, falling to Carlisle 4-0. It will play in the seventh place game at 4 p.m.

 

FORT DODGE – Fairfield’s first round game had everything: a comeback, three home runs, late-inning controversy and a walk-off hit. Unfortunately for Trojan fans, it was Charles City who did the walking.

Charles City upset Fairfield 5-4 thanks to an RBI single by Shanetl VanHauen in the bottom of the seventh inning.

 

Charles City strikes first

The Trojans loaded the bases in the top of the first, but stranded all three runners. That allowed Charles City to take the early lead, scoring two runs in the first, one on a Ciana Sonberg solo homer.

The Comets added one more on an RBI single by Sonberg in the second inning and the Trojans found themselves trailing 3-0.

Fairfield’s offense came alive in the top of the third. Shaylin Drish scored the first Trojan run on a passed ball, and Kaylee Watson followed with a game-tying two run shot to centerfield. Just like that, the two teams were knotted up at 3-3.

Charles City’s Tayler Schmidt hit the third long ball of the contest in the bottom of the third. She sent a solo shot just over the fence to give the Comets a 4-3 advantage.

 

Beard keeps it close

Starting pitcher Haley Beard kept the deficit at one with scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth. That bought the Fairfield offense the time it needed to tie the game in the sixth.

Beard helped her own cause with a leadoff single.

Natalie Angstead reached on an error and Brynna Bowman brought Beard home with a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Trojans loaded the bases on a hit by pitch with two outs, but Kenady Waugh’s line drive to right field was caught and Fairfield had to settle for just the one run.

Beard kept the Comets off the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth, but Fairfield went down in order in the top of the seventh.

 

Seventh-inning controversy

Schmidt led off the seventh inning for the Comets. She appeared to fly out for the first out of the inning, but the first base umpire ruled an illegal pitch on Beard to nullify the out and keep the at-bat going.

The official ruled that Beard left the ground on her pitch, which made it an automatic ball. Schmidt drew a walk and eventually came around to score the winning run.

Charles City’s Sara Martin hit a single to put two on with no outs. Beard got one out on a fly ball to center but VanHauen muscled a hit to left field as the Comets celebrated a walk-off victory.

“We knew going into the bottom of the seventh they had some of their top hitters up,” Fairfield head coach Bob Bradfield said after the game. “We knew that was going to be a tough inning for us [and] we were hoping to score a few more an inning or two before that, but that’s the way the game went.”

 

Coach praises team’s no-quit attitude

Bradfield praised his team’s ability to come back from two different deficits in the contest, but said the Trojans needed one more hit to break through.

“We had runners on so many innings, I can’t remember which one was which,” Bradfield said. “We had chances but we just didn’t get the hit at the right time.”

Beard was tagged with the loss, going six and one-third innings, giving up five runs, three earned, on eight hits and four walks while striking out four.

Watson finished 1-2 with a home run, two RBIs and a run. Shaylin and Ashtyn Drish each went 1-2 with a run scored. Beard was 1-3 and Waugh finished 1-4.

SEC rival Mt. Pleasant lost in a similar fashion in the preceding game, falling 3-2 on a walk-off in eight innings. Top-seeded Winterset held off Sergeant Bluff-Luton 5-2 in the Class 4A opener and third-seeded Ballard topped Carlisle 11-5.

The Trojans were scheduled to face Carlisle at noon today (Wednesday), and then close out their state tournament against either Mt. Pleasant or Sergeant Bluff-Luton at 4 p.m. today.

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