116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — It’s not only a business trip. Not with a day off — mostly off — Tuesday.
“We’re going to Decker’s (Sporting Goods). I’ll get a sweatshirt and some T-shirts that I don’t need,” senior Kaitlyn Sommerfelt said. “As for tonight, we’ll be playing Wii.”
As was the case the last two years, North Linn is going to make a full week of it in Fort Dodge. The second-ranked Lynx took control with a four-run uprising in the bottom of the third inning and defeated No. 14 Iowa City Regina, 5-2, in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Monday evening at the Rogers Sports Complex.
Bring on the Wii. Then bring on the semifinals.
North Linn (40-6) — the state champion in 2019 and runner-up last year — will face No. 5 Central Springs (30-6) at 1:30 Wednesday afternoon.
The Lynx know when to go hard. And they know how to have fun. Sometimes they can multitask and do both at once.
“The younger girls bring a lot of energy,” Sommerfelt said. “They’re fun to be around, and that has really helped us.”
North Linn spotted Regina (19-13) the first run, then answered quickly and decisively.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Livvie Rauch and Skylar Benesh singled, then Rauch scored on Sommerfelt’s sacrifice bunt. The Lynx went ahead on Jill Smith’s RBI double, then Ellie Flanagan had the big hit, a two-run double to make it 4-1.
“I knew I could hit her,” Flanagan said. “I had to get the bat on it and show I could.”
Flanagan got out of bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the first, gave up a run in the top of the third on Courtney Kessler’s RBI single, then settled down. She retired nine straight from the third through sixth innings.
“I just needed to get the nerves out,” Flanagan said. “Once I relaxed, it was a lot of fun.”
Annie Gahan homered in the sixth to get the Regals within 4-2 — “The first pitch was right there, and I had to swing at it,” she said — but the Lynx answered on Benesh’s RBI single in the bottom of the same inning.
Maddie Stepanek came in to pitch in the top of the seventh and retired the Regals in order, including a 9-3 putout for the final out, for the save.
The Lynx owned a 10-2 advantage in hits. Benesh, Sommerfelt and Rauch collected two apiece.
Regina will face Underwood in a consolation game at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
NORTH LINN 5, IOWA CITY REGINA 2
Class 2A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Iowa City Regina 001 001 0 — 2 2 0
North Linn 004 001 x — 5 10 1
Emma Nibaur, Maddie Stepanek (7) and Courtney Kessler. Ellie Flanagan and Jenna Lemley. W — Flanagan (22-2). L — Nibaur (16-8). SV — Stepanek (2). HR — ICR: Annie Gahan (4).