116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
LISBON — When Abby Flanagan steps into the pitching circle, she looks to her twin sister Grace behind the plate for the call.
If seeking a predictable pattern, good luck. The communication between the freshmen twin sisters appeared impenetrable Friday night at Bunting Field.
Abby Flanagan surrendered just three hits and a run and struck out 10 batters as North Linn defeated Tri-Rivers Conference foe Alburnett, 5-1, in a Class 2A softball regional semifinal.
'I have a lot of confidence in Grace and what she calls, I really don't want to give it away,' Flanagan said with a laugh. 'I just try to have confidence in all my pitches, and usually they work.'
As an eighth-grader last season, Flanagan won 19 games for a 30-win Lynx squad that were unceremoniously bounced in a regional quarterfinal.
At 19-7 in the circle this year, Flanagan and North Linn (26-13) can earn the first trip to the softball state tournament in school history with a victory at second-ranked Durant (30-7) on Monday.
'We know Durant is a tough team,' North Linn Coach Amy Bautista said. 'They've got strong pitching and they've also got strong catching. The biggest thing to get around and that's what we've done the entire season, is come out and we've got to go 10 hits and two or less errors.'
The Lynx were already in command of the 5-1 lead when they committed their lone error in the sixth inning. While short of its 10-hit goal (six), North Linn converted six Alburnett errors into four unearned runs.
Junior Brook Schott reached base three times, including an RBI double in the sixth inning that scored Sienna Hancock from first base. A Schott liner in the fourth inning caromed off the glove of the Alburnett center fielder, scored Natalie Gallery and gave Flanagan a 3-0 cushion.
'It just gives me a lot more energy because we're up and we have a little extra comfort in how we're doing,' Flanagan said.
Senior pitcher Amber Porter (11-7) struck out three in defeat, while senior Kassidy Rose posted two hits and scored a run for Alburnett (20-19).
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