FORT DODGE — The North Linn Lynx got caught in a giant July snowball that wouldn’t stop rolling against them.
Third-ranked Ogden scored four runs in the second inning, and dethroned No. 1 North Linn, 6-1, to claim the Class 2A state softball championship Friday night at the Rogers Sports Complex.
The Lynx were flat throughout and saw their 31-game win streak come to a stunning end.
“We just couldn’t get started,” said Coach Marv Porter, whose three-year run came to an end. “We couldn’t get anything positive going, and when we did, there were two outs.”
University of Iowa recruit Danali Loecker looked every bit like a Big Ten-caliber prospect. She had a key double in the second-inning explosion, then added a solo home run — her 11th of the season and 67th of her career — in the fourth.
“I feel like we had less pressure on ourselves because they were the No. 1 seed,” Loecker said. “So we went out to have fun, and whatever happened, happened.”
What happened is this: Ogden (22-3) now owns its first state championship, in any sport.
North Linn (25-1) was bidding for a title repeat, but the Lynx never got any mojo going.
“They had a lot more hits, a lot more gappers,” Lynx pitcher Abby Flanagan said. “We had some errors to start the game, and that got the momentum going their way.
“We fought until the end, and that’s all we could do.”
It started well enough for Flanagan and the Lynx, retiring the first four Ogden batters. But then the Bulldogs strung together a walk, a single and a double for the first run, and an error brought home two more before Loecker’s double made it 4-0.
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“One of those days,” North Linn’s Hannah Bridgewater said. “It was definitely frustrating. They made plays, and we didn’t.”
Loecker’s homer extended the margin to 5-0, then a fifth-inning error sent another run home.
North Linn got its run in the bottom of the fifth, with pinch-runner Olivia Rauch scoring on Bridgewater’s groundout.
The Lynx stranded eight runners.
“Hats off to their pitcher,” Grace Flanagan said of Loecker, who allowed just four hits. “She’s a great pitcher. And they have other great hitters too. They hit every gap, it seemed.”
Both Flanagans, Bridgewater and Kaitlyn Sommerfelt were named to the all-tournament team. Loecker was the captain.
North Linn hadn’t been much of a softball school until the current senior class arrived. The last five years produced a 161-35 record, including 105-10 under Porter the past three seasons.
“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Bridgewater said. “From where we came, it’s been a big jump.”
OGDEN 6, NORTH LINN 1
Class 2A State Championship, at Fort Dodge
Ogden 040 110 0 — 6 7 2
North Linn 000 010 0 — 1 4 2
Denali Loecker and Faith Mohr. Abby Flanagan and Grace Flanagan. W — Loecker (16-2). L — A. Flanagan (17-1). HR — Ogden: Loecker (11).
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