The Lady Comets are on their way to take over the conference after a decisive win against Brandon-Evansville Thursday at Hannah Park. With most Comets wearing warm up jackets, it was awful weather to knock the ball around the park. The Lady Comets made quick work of Brandon-Evansville, getting in and out of the park early after their 10-0 win that ended the game after three outs in the sixth.
Nicole DeKok didn't have her best stuff, but it didn't seem to matter. Working to get her curve ball dialed in in the first and second inning was difficult in the cold weather. But Nicole set to using her change-up and it proved enough to keep Brandon Evansville off balance with only 3 hits in six innings of play.
The Comets struck early, thanks again to State record holder Megan Aasness. With the career steals record under her arm, Aasness is working to break the single season record for steals, eyeing to get 4 more in the final three games. She grabbed 3 Thursday to put her at 37, knowing she needs to break 41 to tie the record.
Aasness grabbed her first steal after a solid hit up the middle. She took second on the next play, stealing home after advancing on a Comet sacrifice. The score in the first gave DeKok confidence to work the strike zone, with the Comets up 1-0.
After a scoreless second, the Comets set down Brandon-Evansville in order and started the bottom of the third with something to prove. Aasness was one of the beneficiaries of the Comets' work on the base path, bringing in the 3rd run for the Comets in the second. She had 2 hits on the day, scoring 3 times after drawing a walk in the fifth.
In the third inning Emma Royce stepped in, having watched teammate Megan Aasness cross the plate with ease. With runners at the corners, and the Comets up 3-0, Royce swung with abandonment, missing the first pitch with a whiff that was felt in the outfield. But in the next pitch Emma was dialed in and shifted her weight in precision with the bat to cast a line drive in the right field gap. It cleared the bases, giving Hillcrest a 5-0 lead, as she took the final steps of her triple with a smile on her face. Royce went 2-3 on the day.
The Comets continued to shutdown Brandon-Evansville. DeKok and Comet catcher Ruthanne Erickson were in sync for most of the day. When Erickson wasn't drawing in DeKok's fastball and setting up outside the plate for hairsplitting off-speed pitches that painted the corners, she was stepping into the batters box to help out her pitcher. Her hit in the sixth drove in a pair of runners, and her work on the base path left her stat line with 2 stolen bases.
The Comets play Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley on Friday. The Comets essentially hold the conference in their hands, promised a tie at a minimum if they win their final 3 games.