116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
LISBON — In the young mind of Skylar Benesh, home runs are “accidents.”
If that’s the case, her accidents helped extend a long winning streak.
After her team caught a break in the top of the fourth inning of Game 1, Benesh followed with a bomb — a three-run home run to break a 1-1 tie — and Class 2A top-ranked North Linn went on to sweep 1A No. 4 Lisbon, 4-3 and 6-1, in a Tri-Rivers Conference softball doubleheader Thursday night at Bunting Field.
“We had runners on, and I wanted to put the ball in play,” said Benesh, an extremely promising freshman shortstop. “Home runs are accidents, but I really wanted to drove those runs in.”
Benesh added a solo blast in the nightcap, and the Lynx (23-1, 16-0 Tri-Rivers) sent their league winning streak to 77 games, dating back to 2017.
The Lynx’s leadoff hitter because of her speed, Benesh has significant muscle, too. She has nine home runs this season.
“She has a lot of speed and she’s our most aggressive baserunner,” Lynx Coach Chad Spore said.
Benesh said, “I really like to lead us off. I’m been working a lot on my hitting, and it’s working out really well right now.”
Lisbon (18-6, 13-3) led 1-0 through three innings on the strength of a first-inning wild pitch, but a two-out error — a bad throw on what could have completed a line-out/throw-out double play — allowed a run to score, then Benesh untied the score.
After a 51-minute lightning delay, the Lions crept closer with a run in the fourth on Ella Clark’s RBI single in the fourth, then made it 4-3 and had runners on second and third with one out before reliever Maddie Stepanek got out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout.
There was no such drama in Game 2. The Lynx scored three times in the first inning and twice in the second, then Benesh’s homer made it 6-0 in the fourth.
Lisbon stranded nine runners in the nightcap.
North Linn was the 2A state champion in 2019, the runner-up last year. The Lynx graduated six starters, but there’s no dropoff.
“We’ve been hitting well, we’re playing as a team and we’re out here to prove people wrong,” Benesh said.
Spore said, “I’m ecstatic, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
NORTH LINN 4-6, LISBON 3-1
North Linn 000 400 0 — 4 6 2
Lisbon 100 100 1 — 3 5 1
Ellie Flanagan, Maddie Stepanek (7) and Jenna Lemley. Ryleigh Allgood and Taylor Techau. W — Flanagan (11-1). L — Allgood (14-3). SV — Stepanek (1). HR — NL: Skylar Benesh (8).
North Linn 320 100 0 — 6 5 1
Lisbon 000 010 0 — 1 5 5
Maddie Stepanek, Eva Cook (6) and Jenna Lemley, Teagan Liebe (4). Addy Petersen and Taylor Techau. W — Stepanek (9-0). L — Petersen (3-2). HR — NL: Skylar Benesh (9).