Mount Vernon returns to state with 13-4 rout of Northeast

Class 3A softball: Defense and arm of senior Lily Dahlstrom helps Mustangs (29-13) overcome three-run deficit in first inning

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MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon softball team found themselves in an eerily-similar predicament.

For the second game in a row, the Mustangs were on the wrong end of a three-run deficit in the first inning of an elimination game.

But just like last time, Lily Dahlstrom limited the damage the rest of the way while the bats made up quick ground.

The senior hurler surrendered one run over the final six innings, then turned the Class 3A regional final into a rout with a bases-clearing double in the sixth inning as No. 5 Mount Vernon pasted sixth-ranked Northeast, 13-4, Monday night.

“Our defense can keep us in it until our offense can win it,” Mount Vernon Coach Robin Brand said. “These girls do not bat an eye when someone scores on us. The only thought they think is to answer back.”

Mount Vernon (29-13) got two of the runs back in the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back sacrifice flies by Sammy Moss and Annie See, then took the lead for good at 5-4 in the fourth when Bailey Hauser and Dahlstrom scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Moss.

Dahlstrom (22-8) scattered 10 hits and her fourth strikeout sealed the game for Mount Vernon, winners of seven of its last eight games.

“Starting off a game this important, everyone is a little more nervous than other games,” Dahlstrom said. “It wasn’t me. It was my players. They’re the ones that got the outs.”

The Mustangs took advantage of eight walks and two hit batsmen, and Dahlstrom’s sixth-inning double keyed a six-run final frame. Of Mount Vernon’s 13 runs, 11 were scored with two outs.

Northeast ends at 32-9.

The Class 3A softball state tournament begins July 19 in Fort Dodge, Mount Vernon will face either Sergeant Bluff-Luton or Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley in a 5 p.m. quarterfinal.

The Mustangs placed fifth at state last year.

“We’ll have a lot more confidence going in,” said junior Libby Ryan, who reached base in all five plate appearances, scored three runs and drove in a pair. “It will be a fun experience.”

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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