FORT DODGE — The Lisbon Lions didn’t hit consistently, and they didn’t hit hard.
But they bunched just enough hits together to advance. And at this point, that’s all that matters.
Maddie Morningstar’s two-run double highlighted a three-run uprising in the third inning, and ninth-ranked Lisbon edged No. 11 Martensdale-St. Marys, 3-2, in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Monday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“It’s awesome,” Morningstar said. “We wanted to get that first one out of the way.
“We beat the No. 1 team (Lansing Kee, in the regional finals), and since then, we’ve been saying, ‘What’s next?’”
Well, here’s your answer: Lisbon (34-8) has advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1996, when Paige Stamp and Co. were putting the finishing touches on a three-year title run.
The Lions meet No. 2 Collins-Maxwell (28-1) — a 5-0 winner over Newell-Fonda — at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
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“I’m really happy for these kids,” said Lisbon Coach Bob Bunting, who picked up career win No. 1,161. “We struggled with slow pitching all year, and we did again today. But we got enough.”
After peppering the left side of the MSM infield with playable ground balls in the first two innings, the Lions got untracked in the third. Singles by Grace Clark and Reegan Happel started the rally, then Morningstar poked a double to the gap in left-center field to score them both.
“We had been slowing our bats up early in the game,” Morningstar said. “We needed to wait on the pitch, and explode.”
Sam Schrantz drove in another run — and as it turned out, a necessary one — with a sacrifice fly for a 3-0 advantage.
Lisbon finished with just four hits.
Martensdale-St. Marys (24-15) got a run in the fourth (on Jayda Gay’s single) and another in the sixth (on Madeline Myer’s double). The Blue Devils had runners at second and third with two outs in the seventh, but Skylar Sadler got Brinley White to ground out to preserve the win.
Sadler (25-5) allowed eight hits, striking out five and walking none.
“She might have been tired a little,” Bunting said, “But she is tough in tough spots.”
Sadler said, “When runners get on base, I know our defense has my back, and that makes me relax and take a deep breath.”
LISBON 3, MARTENSDALE-ST. MARYS 2
Class 1A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Martensdale-St. Marys 000 101 0 — 2 8 2
Lisbon 003 000 x — 3 4 3
Kailey Walker and Brinley White. Skylar Sadler and Reegan Happel. W — Sadler (25-5). L — Walker (6-4).
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