Lady Dees make a statement

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Karli Olsen of Spirit Lake tags Albia Abigail Martin during class 3A quarterfinals on Tuesday

The second-ranked Albia softball team has a number of reasons to play this state tournament.

After advancing to a finals as an underdog last year, the Lady Dees made quick work of No. 13 Spirit Lake here Tuesday at Rogers Park, scoring a 10-0 victory in five innings.

Next up for Albia (32-4 overall) will be ninth-rated Roland-Story (29-4) on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on Diamond 2 in the semifinals.

Alex Beard crushed a three-run homer in the second and ended the game in the fifth with a three-run single. The home run was the sophomores seventh this year and she now has 44 runs driven in.

“It felt so good because I haven’t been hitting the ball like that for a while,” Beard said. “I was happy to get some runs on the board. Moving on is awesome and we want to win it for our coach (Larry Achenbach).”

Achenbach, who earned his 300th career win earlier this year, is leaving after the season is over. He’s led the Lady Dees to four state tournament appearances in 11 seasons and is now 311-122 in his career.

Hannah Isley, a future University of Northern Iowa softball player, was 3-for-4 from her leadoff spot. She scored three runs and stole a bases, making an early case to return to the all-tournament team.

“For us, it’s almost like Coach is also a senior, so we want to win it for him like you always try to win it for a senior,” Isley said. “I’m gonna miss him a lot and I’m just happy he is leaving my senior year so I don’t have to cope with a new coach.”

Makenna Ross drove in two runs and both Erin Heaton and Danica Workman scored twice for Albia, which has won six in a row and 12 of 13. The Lady Dees lost to top-ranked Davenport Assumption in the finals a year ago, but return eight starters from that team.

Jena Lawrence earned the win inside the circle, pitching a four-hitter with seven strikeouts.

“Last year we were just having fun and didn’t think we would do very good,” Isley said. “But we ended up in the finals and now we really want to win it this year. We’ve been working hard in the batting cages, putting in extra hours after practice and extra work.”

For Spirit Lake (28-8), Karli Olsen had two hits from her leadoff position in the order. The Indians, making their first state appearance since 2014, will meet No. 3 Waterloo Columbus (38-3) in a consolation game Wednesday at 11 a.m. on Dodger Diamond.

ALBIA 10, SPIRIT LAKE 0 (5 inn.)

Spirit Lake 000 00 — 0 4 2

Albia 131 23 — 10 10 0

WP–Jena Lawrence (23-2, 5 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 7 K, 4 BB); LP-Kelsey Kannenberg (4 IP, 10 H, 7 ER, 1 K, 3 BB).

HR–A: Alex Beard. RBI–A: Kennedy Schroeder, Alex Beard (6), Abbey Griffin, Makenna Ross (2).