“(Van Buren) certainly has a team of fighters. It’s not too surprising to see them come up swinging like that,” Ridgway said. “It definitely helped my confidence to come back out in the second after giving up that first run and be given the lead right away.”
“On a night where it was nice and hot, you want a pitcher to go deep in the count. (Van Buren) seemed to swing at a lot of first pitches. We seemed to take a lot more and made their pitcher work a lot more,” Harter added.
Van Buren’s season ends with a record of 9-17. Cardinal took plenty of confidence they could pull an upset at No. 4 Highland for the 2A Region 5 second round Wednesday.
“We played (Highland) here on a wet night and let an early lead get away from us,” Harter said. “I feel like we’ve got something to prove, but I think our non-conference schedule had made us ready for any team we’re going to face from here on out. Whoever we face better be ready, or they’re going home.”
The Comets played well on Wednesday night in their rematch with the fourth-ranked Huskies (31-3), but could not pull off an upset. No. 4 Highland ended Cardinal's season with a 4-1 win on their home diamond, bringing another winning season to an end at 18-16.
The Huskies will host West Branch on Friday in the Class 2A, Region 5 semifinals after the Bears (16-19) knocked off Pekin (21-11) 8-3 in Packwood on Wednesday. The loss brought an end to the 26-year head coaching career of Bryan Marley, who started his career at Cardinal before moving on to coach the Panther softball program for the past 25 years.
The other side of Class 2A, Region 5 saw 14th-ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont beat North Mahaska (19-12) 7-1 thanks to a five-run fourth inning that snapped a 1-1 tie. Tasha Alexander came up with three hits, including a bases-clearing double and solo home run, as the 25-9 Rockets will play at Iowa City Regina Friday in the regional semifinals.