Anderson, No. 5 Warriors two-hit Warhawks

TAGGED OUT — North Union pitcher Kate Anderson (left) tags out West Fork courtesy runner Makenzie Fessler when Fessler attempted to reach third base on a hit and an overthrow during Top of Iowa Conference softball action Monday night in Swea City. Anderson covered third on the play when Warriors third baseman Brooklyn Prochniak tracked down the errant toss and delivered the assist. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

SWEA CITY — North Union ace right-hander Kate Anderson and the Iowa Class 1A, No. 5-ranked Warriors needed only five innings to squeeze out a 10-run rule softball victory in between rain drops on Monday night.

Kate Anderson retired the first 10 batters in a row en route to hurling a two-hit shutout, while every Warrior batter collected a hit to pace a 10-0 Top of Iowa Conference trouncing of the West Fork Warhawks in Swea City.

“We changed our batting order three or four games ago, and ever since then, the girls have hit the ball with authority,” said North Union head coach Art Ingalls.

After Kate Anderson mowed down the Warhawks in order on the strength of three consecutive strikeouts in the top of the first, Katelyn Thackery utilized her speed to manufacture a solo run for the Warriors in the home half.

Thackery, who went 3-for-3 on the game, lined a one-out single to left, swiped second base with two outs and circled the bases when Breanna Anderson’s towering fly ball to center was dropped.

Kate Anderson evoked three straight groundouts in the West Fork second before she assisted her own cause with an RBI single during North Union’s six-run second at-bat.

Victoria Laubenthal, who went 2-for-3, triggered the seven-hit offensive outburst with a one-out double. Laubenthal moved to third on Shawna Person’s sharp single before both Warriors scored on Hope Steinberger’s two-run double to left-center.

Thackery legged out a bunt hit, Kate Anderson singled home Steinberger, Breanna Anderson drilled a two-run single back through the box and Rory McClellan added a run-scoring single to extend the home team’s lead to 7-0 after two completed frames.

Kate Anderson worked another 1-2-3 inning in the third before the Warriors inched with one of a 10-run advantage during the bottom half of the frame.

Brooklyn Prochniak singled before Laubenthal and Person reached on back-to-back fielder’s choices that produced no outs to load the bases for Steinberger.

Steinberger, who went 2-for-3, produced her game-best third and fourth RBIs by lining a single up the middle to plate Prochniak and Laubenthal for a 9-0 lead.

Morgan Meier spoiled Kate Anderson’s no-hit bid by lining a single up the middle with one out in the top of the fourth, but Anderson maintained her shutout.

North Union utilized ‘small-ball’ strategy in the bottom of the fifth to manufacture the game-ending run. Laubenthal legged out an infield hit, stole second base, moved to third on Person’s sacrifice bunt and crossed the plate with the decisive run on Cassie Beadle’s RBI infield hit to third.

Kate Anderson recorded eight strikeouts, walked one and pitched five shutout innings of two-hit softball to earn the complete-game victory.

Rachael Hubka gave up 10 runs — nine earned — on 13 hits, struck out three and did not issue a walk in 4-plus innings to absorb the loss for West Fork.

Mara Heimbuch collected the Warhawks’ other hit in the fifth inning.

North Union (10-3) plays host to Okoboji in another league game at 6 p.m. tonight in Swea City.

WF 000 00 — 0 2 2

NU 162 01 — 10 13 0

Rachael Hubka (LP) and Kylie Laudner. Kate Anderson (WP) and Rory McClellan.

LOB–North Union 4; West Fork 2. 2B–Hope Steinberger (NU), Victoria Laubenthal (NU). SAC–Shawna Person (NU) 2.