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Carlisle in line for repeat

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Molly Hoekstra of Carlisle pitches against North Scott on Wednesday at Rogers Park.

Aubrey Furnal went 4-for-4 and drove in the go-ahead runs for Carlisle during a Class 4A semifinal on Veterans’ Diamond yesterday afternoon.

But even after all of that, she still had to take a backseat to her younger sister.

Take a bow, Caylin Furnal. You earned it.With top-ranked and defending state champion Carlisle trailing fifth-ranked North Scott 3-1 in the fourth inning, freshman Caylin Furnal came off the bench and cranked a two-run pinch-hit home run to left field to tie the game and spark a seven-run outburst, as the Wildcats advanced to tonight’s title game with an 8-3 victory.

Caylin Furnal had a grand total of 15 at bats this season prior to stepping into the box with one runner aboard and one out in the fourth inning. A few moments later she unleashed the first varsity home run of her career.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Caylin Furnal said. “I just said I’ve got to do this for the team because our goal is to get a chance to repeat, and I think it was definitely a game changer for the team.”

Hall of Fame head coach Jim Flaws made the decision to use Caylin Furnal in that spot, and whether it was good coaching or simply a lucky call on his part, he was happy with the result.

“If you watch us play in practice, and we go against live pitching every day, that girl comes in and hits shots every single time,” Flaws said. “That was remarkable for a freshman to come in and do that, and what a momentum boost. You could see everything just shift.”

With the bases loaded five batters later, Aubrey Furnal put Carlisle in front for good when she she smacked a base hit through the left side to bring two runs across.

And Meredith Hoffman followed her with the dagger — a three-run home run to center that glanced off the glove of North Scott outfielder Brooke Kilburg, who nearly robbed her.

North Scott (17-10) saw its state title hopes dashed by Carlisle (20-3) for the second straight season. The Wildcats won a 1-0 battle over the Lancers in the 2019 state final, but needed more offense yesterday to prevail in the rematch.

Both teams laced eight hits, but Carlisle played flawless defense while North Scott committed two errors. Both miscues came in the fourth inning and they led to six of the seven runs being unearned.

North Scott touched Wildcats’ starting pitcher Molly Hoekstra for three hits and three runs in the opening inning to take the early lead. Sam Lee, who went 3 for 3, ripped an RBI double, and Sydney Skarich plated another run with an RBI single.

Carlisle got one run back in its half of the first on an RBI double off the bat of Kennady Prenosil.

Lexxi Link came on in relief of Hoekstra in the fifth and retired nine of the final 11 batters she faced. Hoekstra and Link combined to strike out three.

Carlisle will face Raccoon River Conference rival Winterset in the 7:30 p.m. final.

The Wildcats beat Winterset during the regular season, 7-4, but Flaws says his team won’t overlook any detail as it looks to repeat.

“The girls are pretty humble about what we’re doing,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said they didn’t realize it was for a state championship, but I honestly think they’re focused on who we’re playing and what we do.”I’m pretty proud of the whole group, especially the Furnals.”

Carlisle 8, North Scott 3

N. Scott 300 000 0 — 3 8 2

Carlisle 100 700 x — 8 8 0

Ryann Cheek, Drew Lewis (4) and Sam Lee. Molly Hoekstra, Lexxi Link (5) and Kennedy Preston. W–Hoekstra. L–Cheek. Multiple hits–NS: Lee (3), Cheek; CAR: Aubrey Furnal (4). 2B–NS: Lee (2): CAR: Kennedy Prenosil. HR–CAR: Caylin Furnal, Meredith Hoffman. RBI–NS: See, Sydney Skarich; CAR: Hoffman (3), C. Furnal (2), A. Furnal (2), Prenos.

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