FORT DODGE — One bad inning was too much to overcome.
After Mount Vernon touched up Louisa-Muscatine ace Hailey Sanders for a pair of runs in the second inning Tuesday morning, any momentum was immediately squelched.
Second-ranked Louisa-Muscatine had its first seven hitters reach base in the bottom half of the inning, resulting in a six-run frame and a 10-6 victory in a Class 3A state quarterfinal at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“We had some mental errors that led to physical errors and that hurt us,” Mount Vernon Coach Robin Brand said.
The defending 2A state champion Falcons scored only one run in each of their last two regional games. They busted out of their offensive funk against Mount Vernon’s Mandy Roe.
Louisa-Muscatine (34-4) batted around in the second inning. A hit-by-pitch, fielder’s choice, three straight singles, another fielder’s choice and a fourth hit, coupled with an error, opened the floodgates.
“We haven’t been hitting the ball lately, so to get that many runs early in the game was such a relief,” said Louisa-Muscatine’s Katie Koppe, who was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
The Falcons advance to play fourth-ranked West Liberty, a 10-0 winner over Treynor, in a semifinal tilt at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Mount Vernon (27-12) attempted to make it interesting.
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The 13th-ranked Mustangs strung together eight hits and a pair of runs in the fifth and seventh innings against Sanders, who struck out 44 in three regional victories and entered with a 0.40 ERA. The six runs were the second-most Louisa-Muscatine has yielded in a game this season.
“When I looked at the scoreboard and we were down 8-2, I wasn’t worried,” Mount Vernon’s Kenzie Ketchum said. “I knew we would keep fighting and get back in it.
“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we fought until the end.”
All-stater Sammy Moss and Ketchum each had two hits for the Mustangs, who were making their fourth state tournament excursion in five years. Summer Brand relived Roe and didn’t give up an earned run over the final four frames.
“These girls have each other’s backs and never fold,” coach Brand said. “They always try to get more. I look at a team like (Louisa-Muscatine) that hasn’t been scored on much this year and we just scored six runs. It really showed their determination and grit.”
Moss and three other seniors — Ketchum, Roe and Abby Patten — play their final game for Mount Vernon at 11 a.m. Wednesday against Treynor in a consolation game.
“I’m just happy I could be part of the program for five years,” Moss said. “I’m going to take all the lessons and drills, everything I learned from wearing the Mount Vernon uniform and carry on with me when I go to (UNI).
“This was just a fun experience.”
Louisa-Muscatine 10, Mount Vernon 6
Mandy Roe, Summer Brand (3) and Mandy Morrical. Hailey Sanders and Katie Hearn. WP – Sanders (20-0). LP – Roe (13-10). Two or more hits – Mount Vernon, Sammy Moss, Kenzie Ketchum; Louisa-Muscatine, Kylee Sanders, McKenna Hohenadel, Maddie Mashek, Hailey Sanders, Katie Koppe. 2B – Louisa-Muscatine, Hailey Sanders, Koppe. RBI – Mount Vernon, Ketchum 2, Moss, Caitlin Babcock, Nadia Telecky; Louisa-Muscatine, Kylee Sanders 2, Mashek 2, Koppe 2, Hailey Sanders, McKenna Hohenadel.
Records: Mount Vernon 27-12; Louisa-Muscatine 34-4