FORT DODGE — While advancing to a state championship game is nothing new for North Linn’s Abby Flanagan, it is for a couple of members of the Lynx softball team.
Flanagan tossed a five-hitter with eight strikeouts, her twin sister Grace Flanagan hit two of North Linn’s five home runs and the top-ranked Lynx (25-0) cruised to a 10-1 victory over No. 4 Northeast on Wednesday for their 31st consecutive victory.
North Linn will now face No. 3 Ogden (21-3) on Friday at 5 p.m.
“It definitely doesn’t get old,” Flanagan said. “It’s still exciting and awesome, and we have an eighth-grader and some freshmen who haven’t been to one yet so I hope they are enjoying this ride.”
The Lynx flexed their incredible power up and down the lineup against the Rebels, as Natalie Gallery, Jenna Lemley and Skylar Benesh each hit a home run. Those three comprise the bottom-third of the North Linn lineup.
“When we are doing that, it’s so exciting,” Flanagan said. “Everybody really stepped up and I thought we overcame some struggles in the field. This lineup is so dangerous and everybody is really swinging the bat well right now.”
Grace Flanagan, a starter on the basketball team alongside Abby and Hannah Bridgewater that won gold this past winter, went 3-for-4 with five RBIs and two runs scored. Kaitlyn Sommerfelt, Abby Flanagan and Gallery all finished with two hits each, with Lemley driving in a pair.
Flanagan did walk five from inside the circle, but was able to work out of jams around a single second inning run that scored for Northeast, which was making its first state appearance in school history.
“I thought we did really well focusing (after allowing the run),” Grace Flanagan said. “We aren’t usually in that situation, but I thought we all came back together.”
North Linn had pitched four consecutive shutouts, including a 10-0 win over Ridge View in the state quarterfinals.
With her two homers, Grace Flanagan tied the single-game state tournament record for all classes.
Alexis Ehlers had two hits and scored a run for the Rebels, stealing two bases.
NORTH LINN 10, NORTHEAST 1
Class 2A Semifinal, Fort Dodge
Northeast 010 000 0 - 1 5 1
North Linn 104 122 x 10 13 1
WP-Abby Flanagan (17-0, 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9 K, 5 BB). LP-Madison Kluever (19-3, 11 H, 8 ER, 1 K, 3 BB).
HR-NL: Skylar Benesh, Jenna Lemley, Natalie Gallery, Grace Flanagan (2). 2B-N: Claire Abbott. RBI-NL: Abby Flanagan, Grace Flanagan (5), Natalie Gallery, Jenna Lemley (2), Skylar Benesh. SB-N: Alexis Ehlers (2); NL: Hannah Bridgewater (2).