-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Ellie Flanagan of North Linn celebrate a win against Martensdale St. Marys during 1A championship on Friday at Rogers Park in Fort Dodge

Not many teams in Class 1A could match Martensdale-St. Marys on the softball diamond this summer.

North Linn is no ordinary 1A program.

The Lynx jumped out early on MSM ace Campbell German and never looked back, adding their third state championship since 2019 to the collection with a 6-0 victory here Friday night at Rogers Park.

Junior Skylar Benesh started off the third with a solo home run and the fourth with another shot, adding to her dozen hit during the regular season. She has already committed to the University of Northern Iowa.

Benesh matched her pitcher, Ellie Flanagan, who blasted two homers in a state game last year vs. Mason City Newman. Six others in 1A have also hit two home runs in a game here.

Flanagan, meanwhile, was keeping a Blue Devil offense that had scored over 10 runs in 13 games this season in check. The Des Moines Area commit allowed just one hit with six strikeouts and two walks.

She was also the starting pitcher two years ago when the Lynx won it all.

“It definitely feels different,” Flanagan said. “I was more confident coming in, but it still feels special. I didn’t have as many nerves as before.”

North Linn, making its fifth consecutive appearance in the elite eight, has now gone 12-3 over its last 15 games at Rogers Park.

“It just feels amazing,” Benesh said. “We knew we could do this and we all really wanted it.

“We have an amazing team and amazing support so it feels awesome to do this for everybody.”

Martensdale-St. Marys, who escaped with a 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals vs. St. Edmond, reached the semifinals last year and has gone 52-11 over the last two seasons. The Blue Devil roster features just two seniors, with only Hadley Pearson being a starter.

Ellie Baker broke up Flanagan’s pursuit of the 62nd no-hitter in state tournament history with a bunt single to begin the seventh.


North Linn 203 100 0 — 6 8 0

MSM 000 000 0 — 0 1 0

WP–Ellie Flanagan (7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). LP–Campbell German (7 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K).

HR–NL: Skylar Benesh (2). RBI–NL: Ellie Flanagan, Skylar Benesh (2), Peyton McMahon, Kylie Munson (2).


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