Meyer’s 3-hit shutout lifts North Union to 5th win in a row
SPENCER, Iowa — North Union’s modus operandi proved different than its first four games of the softball season, but the end result was another victory.
The Warriors entered Wednesday night’s nonconference clash against the hometown Tigers in Spencer, Iowa, with four consecutive wins by outslugging opponents, 54-5.
North Union, however, smoothly switched gears and combined ace right-hander Emily Meyer’s three-hit complete-game shutout with clutch fielding and ‘small-ball’ offense to post a 4-0 triumph over the Tigers.
Meyer and Spencer senior hurler Emily English locked up in a scoreless pitchers’ duel through the contest’s first four frames, in part, on the strength of the Warriors’ line-drive catching defense.
After Tigers’ cleanup batter Olivia Huckfelt doubled to lead off the bottom of the second inning, Warrior catcher Kaylee Tirevold caught Huckfelt straying too far between second and third. Tirevold threw to third baseman Cassie Beadle, who tossed to second baseman Vanessa Von Bank for the critical first out.
Allison Piercy walked and Ashlyn Yeager reached on an error before Meyer notched the first of her six strikeouts on the game and got a groundout to thwart the Tigers’ rally.
North Union right fielder Ella Ulrich then made a diving catch on Spencer’s Kate Larson during the third before Vanessa Von Bank speared a liner off English’s bat to keep the Tigers at bay again.
The Warriors then utilized their speed to manufacture the game’s initial run during the top of the fifth. Shelby Fraker legged out a bunt, took second base on Tirevold’s sacrifice bunt and scored via a throwing error when she swiped third base.
Hope Steinberger, who went 3-for-4, displayed her speed to double North Union’s lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth. Steinberger singled up the middle, advanced to second on Beadle’s bunt hit and both runners moved up on a double steal. Olivia Von Bank then plated Steinberger with an RBI groundout.
Olivia Von Bank then displayed her defensive prowess by making a diving catch at shortstop before tagging out the lead Spencer runner at second base for a momentum-turning double play to turn the Tigers away empty-handed again in the bottom of the sixth.
Steinberger then drove in a key insurance run during the top of the seventh. Tirevold walked before courtesy runner Naomi Jones stole second base. Jones then scored on Steinberger’s RBI single to center. Steinberger, who alertly wheeled to third base on the throw to the plate, scored on Beadle’s RBI infield hit for a 4-0 lead.
Ulrich then delivered another hit-preventing sliding catch during the bottom of the seventh before Meyer capped her complete-game victory with her sixth strikeout of the night.
North Union (5-0) plays host to Class 2A No. 6-ranked Central Springs at 6 p.m. tonight in Swea City. Spencer (1-4) plays host to Cherokee Washington on Friday.
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Emily Meyer (WP) and Kaylee Tirevold. Emily English (LP) and Matayah Lowe.