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MARION — Linn-Mar got its catalyst back, and celebrated with a pair of impressive wins over the Valley Division leaders.
Linn-Mar shortstop Katie Sommer returned to the lineup Tuesday night for the first time since being hit in the face with a throw from the outfield five games ago. She reached base six times, stole three bases and scored four runs as the Lions defeated Class 4A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 5-4 and 12-8, in a Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader at Oak Ridge Middle School.
“We came into the game knowing we can beat them,” Sommer said. “We can compete with anyone. Tonight we just proved ourselves.”
With Linn-Mar trailing 4-3 in the opener, Sommer led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, stole second and tied the game on a single by her sister, Kristie. Freshman Christina Lincoln doubled home Kristie for the 5-4 winner.
“That was tremendous,” Linn-Mar Coach John Begley said.
In the second game, Linn-Mar (22-13, 15-7 MVC) jumped on Xavier starter Kylie Oldridge (10-2) with nine runs in the first two innings, highlighted by an Ally Johnson bases-loaded single that got under the glove of Xavier right fielder Hannah Helms to score four runs and push the lead to 9-2. With Xavier trailing 12-8 and down to its last out, Sommer ended the game with a sensational diving stab of an Erin Drahozal liner with the bases loaded and tossed to Kristie from her belly for the forceout at second base.
“These are really big games right here,” Sommer said. “I wanted to get everything I could. Get in the dirt, and do what you’ve got to do.”
Linn-Mar junior Maddy Ryan (18-12) picked up both wins, the second in relief. The losses snap a 12-game MVC win streak for Xavier (25-5, 17-3 MVC). Drahozal, who was 20 for 35 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs during an 11-of-12 stretch for Xavier, was walked her first six times up in the twinbill.
“She’s a great hitter,” Begley said. “I just figured I’d let somebody else beat me.”