FORT DODGE — Isabelle True insisted that “it’s just another ballgame.”
And yet ...
“Obviously, it’s going to be awkward and intense,” she said.
True pitched a five-inning no-hitter, and fourth-ranked West Liberty solved Treynor pitcher Sydni Huisman the second time through the order in a 10-0 victory over the seventh-rated Cardinals in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Tuesday at the Rogers Sports Complex.
The tournament-rookie Comets (29-5) broke the ice with three runs in the bottom of the third inning, then busted it wide open with six tallies in the fourth.
“After the first time through, we were really locked in on hitting our pitches,” West Liberty Coach Chad Libby said. “We knew (Huisman) threw hard and got a ton of strikeouts.”
So now comes the juicy part. The Comets will face No. 2 Louisa-Muscatine (34-4) — a 10-6 victor over No. 13 Mount Vernon — in a semifinal at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
True, a senior bound for Kirkwood Community College, pitched Louisa-Muscatine to the 2A state championship last season. She transferred to West Liberty in May.
That drama can wait a day. Tuesday was about True’s brilliance, not her change of residence. Hers was the 55th no-hitter in state-tournament history.
And it was about the Comets’ ability to adjust at the plate.
“Before we came here, we really focused on getting on top of the ball,” said Austyn Crees, who reached base in all three of her plate appearances, including an RBI double in the bottom of the third that got West Liberty on the board.
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The Comets struck out six times in the first two innings against Huisman (29-3), who entered the game with 361 strikeouts. The second time through, their fortunes changed on a dime.
With one out in the bottom of the third, Finley Hall walked. On the next pitch, Crees doubled her home, and the Comets were just getting started.
Macy Akers singled, and an error on the play allowed Crees to score. Janey Gingerich singled home Akers to make it 3-0.
West Liberty rapped four hits in the fourth — all for extra bases — and blew it open. Isabel Morrison’s three-run double was the capper.
Then in the fifth, Finley Hall chased home Haylee Lehman with a single for the Comets' 10th — and game-ending — run.
“When you’re hitting the ball, getting on base and scoring runs, it gives you a lot of confidence,” True said.
True was perfect through 4 2/3 innings before Reagan Darrah reached on an error. True fanned four.
Treynor (30-4) faces Mount Vernon (27-12) in a consolation game at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
WEST LIBERTY 10, TREYNOR 0 (5)
3A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Treynor 000 00 — 0 0 2
West Liberty 003 61 — 10 10 1
Sydni Huisman and Bella Dingus. Isabelle True and Austyn Crees. W — True (17-1). L — Huisman (29-3).
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