Tigers explode late to advance to semis

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Ashley Tennant of ADM tags Dallas Center-Grimes Lauren Osborn during class 4A quarterfinals on Tuesday

It took second-ranked ADM a little while to get on track, but once they did, there was no stopping the Tigers.

ADM advanced to the Class 4A semifinals with a 9-1 victory over upset-minded Dallas Center-Grimes here Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Park. The Tigers (34-7 overall) will now face 10th-ranked Newton (25-7) in the semifinals on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. on Diamond 2.

Trailing 2-1 in the fourth, the Tigers plated six runs on five hits, giving pitcher Abbie Hlas plenty of support inside the circle. Hlas recorded six strikeouts and allowed just three hits, helping her own cause with three runs driven in at the plate.

ADM ended a 10-year drought from the state tournament, advancing past Carroll and Norwalk in the regional tournament.

“Every one played loose and just had fun and we weren’t super tight,” Aniston Smith said. “(Winning) is so awesome. The whole team did super good and I’m very proud.”

Hlas and Smith each had two hits, with Smith and Morgan Meyer scoring two runs, and Brooke Hickey driving in a pair for the Tigers.

“We had a slow start, but we played pretty well,” ADM head coach Rick Dillinger said. “We were pressing a little early, but once we scored, we settled in.

“The thing is anybody can win our bracket, so we’ll go home, practice, clean some things up and come back. Getting through that first game is always a sigh of relief because now we get to play again.”

Dallas Center-Grimes (18-23), which upset top-ranked Carlisle in the postseason, will meet No. 11 Cedar Rapids Xavier (25-17) on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. on Veterans’ Diamond in a consolation contest. Lauren Osborn had two hits and Maria Hendricks drove in a run.

The Fillies’ roster also includes freshmen Kylie and Nicole Merical, the daughters of Johnston head coach Todd Merical, who has the Dragons in the 5A field for a sixth consecutive time.

The game featured a meeting of two coaches with over 1,000 career wins each in Dillinger and Dallas Center-Grimes’ Steve Schlafke. Dillinger improved to 1,172-554, while Schlafke is now 1,214-602.

Dillinger is seeking his fourth state title as a coach after winning crowns with North Polk in 2000, ’06 and ’08.

ADM 9,

DALLAS CENTER-GRIMES 1

DC-Grimes 001 000 0 — 1 3 4

ADM 002 610 x — 9 9 1

WP–Abbie Hlas (34-7, 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 6 K, 1 BB); LP–Lani Gannon (16-13, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 K, 4 BB).

RBI–DCG: Maria Hendricks; ADM: Abbie Hlas (3), Brooke Hickey (2), Aniston Smith, Sierra Wyant. 2B–ADM: Abbie Hlas, Emily Kay.