116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — Maybe it’s the feel. Or the sound.
But when Emma King makes good contact, she knows it.
“As soon as it hits the bat, I know it’s gone,” the Southeast Warren outfielder said.
And that one Wednesday?
“Oh, yeah,” she said. “That felt good.”
King hit a momentum-flipping three-run home run in the top of the second inning, and sixth-ranked Southeast Warren went on to handle No. 1 North Linn, 6-2, in a Class 1A semifinal at the state softball tournament at the Rogers Sports Complex.
The Warhawks (25-4) were underdogs in terms of rankings, and rankings only. They were the superior squad on this day, scoring in four different innings and out-hitting the Lynx (33-9) by a 9-2 margin.
Their reward is a date with No. 7 Twin Cedars (28-3) for the 1A championship at 7:30 Friday night.
“We just want to show people, we’re Southeast Warren, we’ve got this, that’s who we are,” King said.
Alivia Ruble held the Lynx to two hits and crushed a solo homer.
A key moment came shortly before King’s bomb.
North Linn had a run in the bank (Jenna Lemley squeezed home Skylar Benesh, who led off with a walk and advanced on a pair of errors) and runners at second and third with no outs.
But Ruble buckled down, induced a flyout and struck out a pair, and the Lynx settled for just one.
“One run got us off to a good start,” Lemley said. “You always want to win that first inning. But it would have been really important if we could have gotten a couple more.”
Benesh said, “One run got us going. We needed to score those other runs, but it didn’t necessarily stop our momentum.”
With the Lynx down 4-1 in the third, Lemley singled home Benesh for the Lynx’s second run. Ruble retired 10 of the final 11 batters she faced.
North Linn will face Martensdale-St. Marys (25-4) in the third-place game at 6 p.m. Friday, which will conclude its fourth consecutive state appearance.
The Lynx were 2A champions in 2019 and 2021, 2A runners-up in 2020.
“All the memories on and off the field ... we’ve grown a lot the last four years,” Lemley said.
Seven of 10 starters will return for 2023.
Southeast Warren 6, North Linn 2
Class 1A State Semifinal, at Fort Dodge
Southeast Warren 031 101 x — 6 9 2
North Linn 101 000 x — 2 2 1
Alivia Ruble and Breanna Nolte. Ellie Flanagan and Jenna Lemley. W — Ruble (19-2). L — Flanagan (22-7). HR — SEW: Emma King (7), Ruble (10).