MONROE — In their final home game on June 29, the PCM softball team couldn’t slow down Class 3A No. 6 North Polk and senior Hannah Pals.
The Comets beat the Mustangs 8-2 in Heart of Iowa Conference action.
Pals hit two home runs, brought in five runners and pitched three scoreless innings. She struck out eight of the nine batters she faced.
“She was pretty good,” PCM head coach Scott Bridges said. “She’s an athlete, and I don’t take anything away from her. She seemed like a nice kid, too.”
Junior Maya Hegwood started in the circle and she went the distance.
The Comets took advantage of some errors by the Mustang defense in the first inning, scoring three runs early.
No PCM batter could muster a hit against Pals. She and the Comet defense put batters down for three straight outs in each of the first three innings.
In the second inning, North Polk freshman Sydney Anderson brought in senior Becca Ley on a hard-hit single, making the score 4-0.
After Pals’ solid three innings, the Comets made a pitching change, bringing in junior Sophie Swygman in the fourth.
Junior Anna Shaver put some life into the Mustang offense, hitting a single to center field. The squad couldn’t capitalize though, stranding Shaver on base.
Pals hit her first home run of the night in the top of the fifth. She brought a runner in with her after she broke the back window of a fan’s vehicle in left-center field.
The score heading into the sixth inning remained 6-0 after PCM couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the fifth.
Sophomore Abby Hill and Ley each hit singles to left field to start the sixth. Hill scored on a PCM throwing error.
The Mustang defense managed to get out of the jam, only allowing their opponent to score one run in the inning.
With two outs, Freland managed to get on base on an infield hit. Shaver again singled to center field, but North Polk made the final out before Freland could cross home plate.
Pals hit her second home run of the night in the seventh, this time on a solo shot to left field.
The Comets loaded the bases with one out, but PCM got the final two outs on a Hegwood strikeout and a pop fly to right field.
“I felt like we played really solid defense,” Bridges said. “The whole season we’ve been plugging away at this defense thing, and it’s getting better.”
The home team finally scored in the bottom of the seventh frame. Senior Kenzie Johnson got on base after a Comet error. Eighth-grader Belle Hudnut brought her in on a single to center field.
Hudnut sprinted home on a wild pitch, scoring the second run. Swygman struck out the final two Mustang batters to close out the game.
“We didn’t quit,” Bridges said. “We played a team that’s top ranked, and we played them pretty well. I’m really proud of them for that.”
Shaver led the Mustangs offensively with two hits. Hudnut had the team’s only RBI.
The Mustangs opened the 3A playoffs against Clarke on July 3.