SWEA CITY - Only a perspiring pitching palm prevented North Union ace right-hander Allie Ingalls from firing a perfect game during Thursday night's Iowa Class 2A softball playoff clash.
Ingalls only faced 13 Okoboji batters - one over the four-inning minimum - in hurling a no-hitter to guide the Warriors to a 12-0 shutout over the Pioneers during Region 1 quarterfinal action in Swea City.
Class 2A, No. 1-ranked North Union (30-4) advances to face Lake Mills in tonight's 7 p.m. regional semifinal in Swea City. Lake Mills reached the postseason tournament's third round by blanking Pocahontas/Pome-roy-Palmer, 8-0, Thursday.
FINAL?OUT — North Union centerfielder Jasmine Clausen (right) squeezes the final out of the Warriors’ Iowa Class 2A, Region 1 quarterfinal softball victory over Okoboji on Thursday night in Swea City. North Union left fielder Harley Lindell looks on.
Okoboji ended its season with a 17-16 record.
"My hand was sweaty, and I threw a screwball. It slipped off of my fingers and hit her (Pioneers' No. 9 batter Clare Eckard) in the foot," Allie Ingalls said in reference to the only batter she allowed to reach base in the playoff game.
Ironically, Ingalls' hit batter ended her game-opening string of eight straight strikeouts with two out in the bottom of the third inning. Ingalls, however, went on to register nine strikeouts to earn the no-hitter.
"Obviously, Allie threw a no-hitter, but I thought we hit the ball extremely well tonight, especially considering we had a nine-day layoff since our last game of the regular season," North Union mentor Art Ingalls said in reference to his potential batting order's 11-hit performance, including four doubles.
Slugger Harley Lindell provided two of the Warriors' extra-base hits to produce a game-leading four RBIs out of the No. 6 spot in the batting lineup.
Allie Ingalls and Cheyanne Boland, however, utilized their speed on the base paths to stake North Union to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Ingalls, who went 2-for-4, greeted Okoboji right-hander Mikkinzie Peschong with a leadoff single up the middle before Tori Johnson bunted Ingalls into scoring position. Cheyanne Boland smacked a sharp single to left to eventually create a second-and-third situation before Collete Haag's slow roller to third was thrown away at first base, allowing both teammates to cross the plate.
The Pioneers then committed two of their five errors during the second inning, with Ingalls later plating two runs with a single before Lindell unleashed a towering, two-run double to cap the six-run offensive outburst en route to an 8-0 edge.
With Ingalls breezing through Okoboji's batting order, North Union put the game out of reach via four runs on six hits during the top of the fourth frame.
Tori Johnson lined a leadoff single back through the box, and Cheyanne Boland bunted her to second base before Johnson scored on Haag's RBI single.
Dena Looft walloped a deep double before Lindell followed suit with a two-run double to center to bring home Haag and pinch runner Hanna Gardner.
Sara Johnson, who had doubled in the third, smacked an RBI single to right to plate pinch runner Emma Engelby for a 12-0 lead.
Centerfielder Jasmine Clausen then corraled two of the three Okoboji flyouts during the last of the fourth inning to seal the 12-run rule decision.
Lindell, Sara Johnson and Ingalls each collected two hits for the Warriors.
Peschong allowed 12 runs - only four earned - on 11 hits, struck out two and walked three in four innings to take the loss.
NU 260 4 - 12 11 0
O 000 0 - 0 0 5
Allie Ingalls (WP) and Cheyanne Boland. Mikkinzie Peschong (LP) and Anna Seeger.
LOB-North Union 4; Okoboji 1. 2B-Harley Lindell (NU) 2, Dena Looft (NU), Sara Johnson (NU). SAC-Tori Johnson (NU), C. Boland (NU), Autumn Boland (NU).