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North Union’s Meyer no-hits Okoboji in softball opener

CONTORTED CATCH — North Union shortstop Olivia Von Bank (right) dives and twists to catch a sinking soft liner during the Warriors’ softball season-opener against Okoboji on Tuesday night in Swea City. North Union third baseman Cassie Beadle (left) and first baseman Maggie Engelby (16) watch the defensive gem. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

SWEA CITY — An actual silver lining amid the coronavirus pandemic.

North Union freshman right-hander Emily Meyer hurled a no-hit shutout, while teammate Olivia Von Bank scored three runs and singled home two more to engineer the Warriors’ 12-0, third-inning run-rule rout over the Okoboji Pioneers on Tuesday night.

Meyer stranded the Pioneers’ Emma Larson, who received the first of the Warrior ace’s two walks on the non-league softball clash, in the top of the first inning before Olivia Von Bank’s diving and twisting catch of a sinking liner between the pitcher’s chalked circle and shortstop negated a second-inning walk to Amy Martin.

Meyer recorded five strikeouts in three hitless and scoreless innings of work to earn the first no-hitter of her varsity prep career.

“I told her (Meyer) that we need to keep the ball and have her write on it with a Sharpie that it was her first no-hitter,” said North Union head coach Kim Price. “The first of many no-hitters.”

Leadoff batter Hope Steinberger set the table for the Warriors’ three-run outburst during the bottom of the first inning. Steinberger drew the first of her two walks on the socially-distanced season-opener, took second base when Cassie Beadle legged out a bunt hit along the third base line and alertly slid under the Okoboji third baseman’s tag on Olivia Von Bank’s fielder’s choice grounder to third.

The fleet-footed Steinberger then scored North Union’s first run of the halved summer schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Maggie Engelby’s sacrifice fly to center.

Vanessa Von Bank walked to reload the bases before Kaylee Tirevold’s grounder to the left side of the infield was thrown away at first to plate Beadle and Olivia Von Bank for a 3-0 lead.

After Okoboji starting pitcher Maggie Bergeson retired North Union in order during the second, Olivia Von Bank triggered a nine-run outburst in the bottom of the third that put an abrupt end to the contest.

Olivia Von Bonk walked, Engelby was plunked by a pitch and the Warriors plated a solo run when Meyer’s grounder was thrown away at first base.

Tirevold then hammered a two-run single up the middle to quickly double North Union’s lead to 6-0.

Ella Ulrich followed with an RBI single to left to chase Bergeson from the pitcher’s circle.

Sam Nielsen then greeted Pioneers’ reliever Emma Larson with an infield hit before Larson walked Steinberger and Beadle to plate another run.

Olivia Von Bank drilled a two-run single to center before Engelby reached via a walk to load the bases again. Beadle and a hustling Olivia Von Bank, from second base, crossed the plate on a wild pitch to end the game via the run rule.

North Union (1-0) travels to Buffalo Center tonight for a 6 p.m. Top of Iowa Conference game with North Iowa.

Okoboji (0-2) plays host to Sioux Center at 7 p.m. tonight.

OK 000 — 0 0 2

NU 309 — 12 5 0

Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the third inning via the 12-run rule.

Maggie Bergeson (LP), Emma Larson (3) and Amy Martin. Emily Meyer (WP) and Kaylee Tirevold.

LOB–North Union 3, Okoboji 2. SF–Maggie Engelby (NU).

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