Prep Softball

No. 1 Albia gets past Mount Vernon with late home run in state softball semifinals

Nicole Sullivan homers for the Mustangs in 2-1 loss

FORT DODGE — Hits were translating to baserunners, but baserunners weren’t translating to runs.

“It was getting very frustrating,” Albia senior Abbie Martin said. “We were getting people to third base, but we weren’t getting them in.”

So Martin took matters into her own hands.

Martin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a home run, lifting top-ranked Albia to a 2-1 Class 3A semifinal win over No. 5 Mount Vernon at the state softball tournament Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.

“I got the perfect pitch, and it felt beautiful,” she said.

Albia (21-1) is in the state tournament for the fourth straight year, and advances to the championship game for the second time in that span; the Lady Dees were runners-up in 2017.

They’ll face No. 3 Williamsburg for the 3A title at 2:30 Friday afternoon. The Raiders (25-4) knocked off three-time defending-champion Davenport Assumption, 5-4, Wednesday.

For Mount Vernon (21-5), the Williamsburg-Assumption outcome made Wednesday’s loss even tougher to swallow.

“Yeah, doesn’t it?” Mustangs Coach Robin Brand said, referring to her team’s Wamac Conference doubleheader split with Williamsburg during the regular season.

The Mustangs will face Assumption in the third-place game at 1 p.m. Friday.

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Albia, which won its eighth consecutive game, struck first when Mackenna Jones singled home Lauren Bayer with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. Bayer led off with a single, then advanced to second on Danica Workman’s sacrifice bunt.

Nicole Sullivan led off the top of the fourth with a home run to tie it at 1-1.

“I really wanted to come through for the team,” she said. “Jena (Lawrence) is a good pitcher, and I wanted to hit something hard somewhere.”

Lawrence improved to 19-0.

Albia collected two hits apiece in the third and fourth innings, then three in the fifth, but came up empty each time against Mustangs pitcher Jenna Sprague.

“That whole game, you have to give it to Jenna,” Sullivan said. “Giving up two runs against the No. 1 team in the state? That’s great.

Brand said, “Jenna held her own against a very good hitting team.”

Caitlin Babcock reached on an error to start the top of the seventh, but a 6-3-5 double play ended it.

ALBIA 2, MOUNT VERNON 1

Class 3A State Semifinal, at Fort Dodge

Mount Vernon 000 100 0 — 1 6 1

Albia 010 001 x — 2 11 1

Jenna Sprague and Mandy Morrical. Jena Lawrence and Alex Beard. W — Lawrence (19-0). L — Sprague (15-3). HR — MV: Nicole Sullivan (4); Albia: Abbie Martin (4).

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

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