Prep Softball

Hannah Bridgewater's speed ignites North Linn softball, then her slam makes it a quick night

No. 1 Lynx pop MFL MarMac, 15-0, in a 4-inning 2A regional quarterfinal

TROY MILLS — Lots of speed. A slam. And a quick night.

Hannah Bridgewater contributed four of North Linn’s 16 stolen bases, then closed the show with a fourth-inning grand slam to lead the top-ranked Lynx past MFL MarMac, 15-0, in a Class 2A softball regional quarterfinal Wednesday night at North Linn High School.

“We took care of business,” Lynx Coach Marv Porter said. “We love to run, and we had some girls run today that hadn’t run much before.”

The defending 2A state champion, North Linn (21-0) won its 27th consecutive game and marches on to face Hudson or Dike-New Hartford in a regional semifinal here at 7 p.m. Friday.

No doubt about it, the Lynx are a juggernaut. They have outscored their competition by a 245-25 margin this season, and Wednesday’s outcome was indicative of their completeness.

“Up and down the lineup, everybody gets on a roll,” said Bridgewater, who will play at Upper Iowa University next year. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Bridgewater opened the game by walking on four pitches. She stole second base, stole third base and scored when the throw sailed into left field.

The Lynx were off and running. And running. And running.

“When we steal bases, it makes it easier,” Bridgewater said. “You get those runners closer, and the RBIs are easier. We did a lot of delayed steals, and that worked pretty well.”

As for the grand slam?

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“It was right down the middle, and I tried to get a good swing,” Bridgewater said. “I just wanted to hit it into the ground or in the air and get that (12th) run in.”

She did a little more than that, lining it over the fence in left-center field.

Jill Smith, who added three RBIs, said the art of the stolen base is more than mere speed.

“Some of us aren’t that fast, but we’re smart when we’re on base and we know what we’re doing,” she said.

“We had a lot of fun tonight. We’re just playing ball. It doesn’t feel like a job.”

North Linn scored three times in the first inning, six in the second (all with two outs), once in the third and five in the fourth. Bridgewater, Smith and Jenna Lemley contributed two hits apiece.

Abby Flanagan (13-0) pitched a one-hitter, striking out seven. She surrendered two baserunners, but Grace Flanagan picked both of the them off at first base.

MFL MarMac retired at 11-6.

NORTH LINN 15, MFL MARMAC 0 (4)

Class 2A Regional Quarterfinal, at Troy Mills

MFL MarMac 000 0 — 0 1 4

North Linn 361 5 — 15 10 0

Lauren Haberichter and Abby Koslowski. Abby Flanagan and Grace Flanagan. W — A. Flanagan (13-0). L — Haberichter (10-4). HR — NL: Hannah Bridgewater (3).

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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