FORT DODGE — Defending champ, meet defending champ.
Second-ranked Louisa-Muscatine struck for six unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to snap a 2-2 tie, and dusted No. 4 West Liberty, 10-2, in a much-awaited Class 3A semifinal at the state softball tournament Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“We kind of fell apart there in the fifth inning,” Comets Coach Chad Libby said. “It was a combination of things. We made some defensive mistakes that we’re not used to.”
Last year’s 2A state champion, Louisa-Muscatine (35-4) faces No. 1 Davenport Assumption (40-2) for the 3A title at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
Assumption is the two-time defending champion, and defeated No. 6 Waterloo Columbus, 6-0, Wednesday.
This game marked a reunion of West Liberty pitcher Isabelle True with her former Falcon teammates. True, a senior headed to Kirkwood Community College, transferred from Louisa-Muscatine to West Liberty in May.
“Obviously, it was a big deal to the media,” True said. “To me, not that much.”
The Falcons collected nine hits off True, including six in their final two trips to the plate.
“Deep down, I kind of knew ... they’ve seen Isabelle for four years and they probably had a good scouting report,” Libby said. “As a team, they hit better than we did today.”
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West Liberty (29-6) struck first when Macy Akers singled home Austyn Crees in the top of the first inning, then squared the score at 2-2 on Sailor Hall’s home run in the top of the fourth.
The shot came one pitch after the Falcons misplayed her foul pop-up.
“I said I was going to make them pay,” Hall said. “I took it where it was supposed to go. I thought it was just a gapper, but it kept going.”
Then the bottom dropped out for the Comets.
It started with an error, then an infield single by Hailey Sanders. After a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk loaded the bases, pinch-hitter Kenna Law hit a ground ball that was misplayed for the tie-breaking run.
Mallory Mashek singled home a run. Mallory Hohenadel walked in another. Kylee Sanders was hit by a pitch to tally one. McKenna Hohenadel’s single accounted for two more.
“We were pretty competitive, but we had one bad inning,” True said. “We kind of gave it to them. We lost our fight for a little bit.”
The Falcons closed the scoring with two runs in the sixth.
West Liberty will face Waterloo Columbus (36-5) in the third-place game at 2:30 Friday afternoon.
LOUISA-MUSCATINE 10, WEST LIBERTY 2
3A State Semifinal, at Fort Dodge
West Liberty 100 100 0 — 2 6 3
Louisa-Muscatine 002 062 x — 10 9 1
Isabelle True and Austyn Crees. Hailey Sanders and Katie Hearn. W — Sanders (21-0). L — True (17-2). HR — WL: Sailor Hall (4), L-M: Katie Koppe (1).
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