FORT DODGE — The North Linn Lynx came to the state softball tournament for the first time Monday.
They didn’t come quietly.
“They were singing all the way,” Lynx Coach Marv Porter said. “I don’t know what they were singing. I don’t know the words. I think the van was moving sideways, they were so loud.”
Then the top-ranked Lynx scored six runs — four unearned — in the first three innings and blanked Wapello, 6-0, in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“I started getting a little nervous before the game, but then Abby (Flanagan) started talking to us like she always does,” North Linn’s Katie Sommerfelt said. “She’ll talk about anything, but she always begins her speech with ‘All righty ... ’”
Flanagan said, “Today it was just about relaxing and having fun.”
All righty, then.
North Linn (40-4) will face No. 9 Mount Ayr (26-2) in a semifinal at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Mount Ayr got past No. 10 Dyersville Beckman, 3-2, in eight innings.
The Lynx were state-tournament rookies, but looked like the more seasoned team against Wapello (17-13). The Arrows committed four errors — three in a three-run third inning that put the game out of reach — compared to none for North Linn.
It didn’t take long for the Lynx to assert themselves. Hannah Bridgewater drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, then Sommerfelt laced a smash off first base that trickled into right field. Bridgewater came around to score and Sommerfelt circled the bases for a triple.
“I wanted at least to move (Bridgewater) over and do my job,” Sommerfelt said.
Sommerfelt scored on Grace Flanagan’s groundout to make it 2-0.
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Wapello’s defensive miscues began in the second, as did North Linn’s ability to capitalize. Jenna Lemley reached on a two-base throwing error, then scored on Livvie Rauch’s groundout.
Natalie Gallery’s RBI double highlighted the third inning.
North Linn had a modest four hits.
“I can’t believe we just had four,” Porter said. “But we were able to put a lot of pressure on them with our speed and baserunning.”
Flanagan (27-2) struck out 10 batters in a three-hit shutout.
“I knew they’d get some hits,” she said. “I just had to have the confidence to know that if they got a hit, I could come back and get the next batter."
NORTH LINN 6, WAPELLO 0
2A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge
Wapello 000 000 0 — 0 3 4
North Linn 213 000 x — 6 4 0
Sam Smith and Emma Reid. Abby Flanagan and Grace Flanagan. W — A. Flanagan (27-2). L — Smith (5-7).
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