North Linn surges into 1A’s golden round
North Linn had never been to the state softball tournament before this year.
That hasn’t stopped the Lynx from putting on a dominating performance.
Just as they did in the quarterfinals Monday night, the Lynx used plenty of offense and pitching for an 8-1 win over Mount Ayr in the 1A semifinals at Rogers Park Wednesday.
North Linn, now 41-4, will play for the state title Thursday at 8:15 on the Krueger Seeds Field.
Junior ace Abby Flanagan took a no-hitter into the 7th inning Wednesday afternoon and settled for a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts. The Lynx backed her with eight hits of their own.
“This just feels great,” said Flanagan, who improved to 28-2. “We’re not really nervous right now, but I am sure that may set in eventually. Those last three outs were tough to get, but we came through.
“We’re pretty confident.”
Flanagan threw a three-hitter and fanned 10 in the first round Monday. Again Wednesday, she was flanked by nearly flawless defense. The Lynx had just one error, which was committed by the pitcher herself in the 7th when Mount Ayr (26-3) scored its only run.
“If Abby is on, not many teams are going to do much,” said North Linn Coach Marv Porter, who coached Alburnett to state five different times, reaching the state title game twice. “We’ve got a fantastic group of athletes. They know what to do with the ball. There’s no hesitation.”
North Linn broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the fourth inning after failing to even put a runner on base in the first three frames. The Lynx added two in the fifth and two in the sixth.
“We were all making contact early,” said Flanagan. “It wasn’t good contact, but it was contact. I knew we could get runners on base.”
Jill Smith had a two-run single to start the scoring for North Linn in the fourth. Natalie Gallery drove in a run as well and another scored on an error.
Grace Flanagan had an RBI double in the fifth and Smith drove in a run with a groundout to make it 6-0. A two-run single by Kaitlyn Sommerfelt in the sixth ran the score to 8-0.
Abby Flanagan had a chance to end the game in the sixth via the 10-run rule if she could have homered with a runner on. That would have assured her a no-hitter. But she flew out to deep left.
Mount Ayr finally scored a run in the seventh, getting a bases-loaded single from Halsie Barnes. But Flanagan recorded the next two outs to end the contest.
Hannah Bridgewater and Sommerfelt each had two hits for the Lynx.
Mount Ayr will play for third place on Thursday at 7p.m.