116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
FORT DODGE — Robin Brand saw it in her players' eyes, and their bats.
One overwhelming thought crept into her mind: 'We're ready.'
'It's the most relaxed I'm ever seen a team before state,' she said. 'They were amazing in the cages the last couple days. They were so comfortable, so confident.'
And on Tuesday, so very potent.
Eighth-ranked Mount Vernon banged out 18 hits and blasted No. 3 Sioux Center, 11-5, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament at the Rogers Sports Complex.
'We were so prepared for this game,' said junior Noelle Ossenkop. 'We were so ready to get started.'
The Mustangs (29-15) broke it open with a six-run outburst in the top of the fourth inning, flirted with the 10-run rule in the fifth and sixth, then coasted home in a game that lasted 2 hours, 17 minutes.
They'll face No. 9 Albia in a semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Dees (29-8) knocked off No. 2 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, 9-6.
All nine of the Mustangs collected at least one hit. Ossenkop was 3-for-5 and drove in three runs, and was joined in the three-hit club by Sydney Hauser, Lauren Hauser and Kristen Elliott.
'Coach Brand drilled into our heads, 'Don't chase the high pitches,'' Elliott said. 'We were just ready to play. The last two years, we lost in the first round. We wanted to show today that we could do something.'
The Mustangs placed sixth last year, fifth in 2015. But this time around, they're on the championship side of the bracket.
Mount Vernon struck for a pair of runs in the top of the first inning and led throughout. It was 3-1 before the Mustangs blew it open in the fourth. The first six batters reached, and ultimately scored.
Elliott doubled, then Libby Ryan and Sydney Hauser singled to load the bases. Sammy Moss delivered a two-run single to make it 5-1, then Ossenkop drove in two more with a double.
Lauren Hauser's single extended it to 8-1, then Elliott capped the explosion with an RBI single.
Yeah, they were ready.
'We had game film on them,' Brand said. 'We'd seen their batters up close, and we'd seen their pitcher up close.'
Mount Vernon has scored in double digits in all four of its postseason games.
Down 11-2 in the seventh, Sioux Center (23-7) tallied three late runs. The Warriors will play two consolation games Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. against Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (32-3).
MOUNT VERNON 11, SIOUX CENTER 5
Class 3A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Mount Vernon 201 611 0 — 11 18 2
Sioux Center 001 010 3 — 5 12 5
Madi Speed, Amanda Roe (7) and Bailey Hauser. Hannah Dykshorn, Camryn Cleveringa (4) and Kaylea Van Regenmorter. W — Speed (17-6). L — Dykshorn (16-4). HR — MV: Bailey Sullivan (5).
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