ALLEMAN — The Prairie City-Monroe softball team matched Class 3A No. 10 North Polk hit-for-hit on Monday.
But the Mustangs handed the Comets nine free bases and that was the difference during North Polk’s 11-1, six-inning win during Heart of Iowa Conference play.
Both teams had seven hits at the plate.
The Mustangs, though, walked five batters, hit a pair and committed two errors. It was the third straight loss for PCM.
“The loss felt a lot different tonight because we played much better defense than we have in recent games,” PCM softball coach Scott Bridges said.
“We gave away too many free bases, and we didn’t have any walks at the plate. That was the difference.”
The Mustangs (2-5 overall, 2-4 in the HOIC) plated their only run in the fifth inning. North Polk (8-4, 4-2) scored four in the second, four in the fourth and three in the sixth to end the game early.
In the fifth, PCM sophomore Hailey Schutte scored on junior Anna Shaver’s RBI groundout.
Sophomore Regan Freland had two of the team’s seven hits. Senior Madison Foster doubled and Shaver, senior Kenzie Johnson and juniors Camryn Wignall and Maya Hegwood all singled.
Johnson started in the circle and took the loss. She allowed seven runs on four hits and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings. Hegwood allowed four runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Bridges thought the second inning was a key to the game.
In the second, PCM had runners on second and third with no outs but then struck out three straight times to end the inning.
North Polk scored four runs in the second off two walks, an error and one hit.
“Right there, it could have been 2-2 instead of 4-0,” Bridges said. “If we score in our half the game looks a lot different.”
PCM hosts 3A No. 9 Roland-Story at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Monroe.