Jefferson catcher Maddie Hansen, however, erased nearly the entire deficit herself. The J-Hawk all-state sophomore catcher powered her seventh home run to deep center field, the ninth homer hit on day one at Huston Field, on a two-run shot in the sixth that pulled Jefferson within 3-2.
Solon got into the act itself moments later with senior Emma Rickels. The senior first baseman capped a five-hit day for the Spartans by hitting the 10th homer of the day at Huston Field with a solo homer that doubled Solon’s sixth-inning lead.
“I don’t know what it is about all the home runs (Friday),” Rickels said after going 5-7 on day one of the Classic with four extra base hits and four RBI. “I think it may just be a case of hitters finally getting used to the pitching. I know that was my first home run this season. It definitely felt good off the bat.”
The drama and long drives of the late-afternoon marquee Eastern Iowa matchup was nothing compared to the game that kicked off the Classic. Cardinal and Clarke locked up in a wild back-and-forth affair that featured everything from pivotal late-inning errors and second chances to last-chance go-ahead hits and huge performances from a pair of sluggers.
In the end, it was Cardinal and catcher Lindsay Moore that would edge the 12th-ranked team in Class 3A. Despite four hits, including a massive three-run homer from Sarah Pate, and four runs batted in for the Indians top slugger, the Comets were able to pull off a stunning 12-11 win in eight innings thanks to six-RBI from Moore on three hits including a three-run homer of her own.
“I just felt good from the get-go,” Moore said. “I’m not the type of person to get nervous. I just did what I usually do. I just went up there and hit the ball.”