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Steinberger, Warriors muzzle Bulldogs, 15-1

ANTICIPATION — North Union runner Sam Nielsen (30) prepares to make a diving head-first slide to the plate as Lake Mills catcher Madison Edwards awaits the throw during Top of Iowa Conference West Division softball action Monday night in Swea City. North Union runner Ella Ulrich (33), on-deck batter Cassie Beadle and their teammates in the dugout look on to see if Nielsen beats the throw. Nielsen was safe on the play, scoring on Hope Steinberger’s bases-loaded double. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

SWEA CITY — North Union needed only 67 minutes to make quick work of Lake Mills during Top of Iowa Conference West Division softball action Monday.

Hope Steinberger produced both of her hits, all three RBIs and two of her three runs scored during a 10-run first inning to help the hometown Warriors muzzle the visiting Bulldogs, 15-1 in three innings via the run rule, in Swea City.

“We need to get back on track tonight,” said North Union assistant coach Jack Von Bank, whose lineup dropped back-to-back games to state-ranked rivals last week to end its season-opening 5-0 start. “Come out and retire them 1-2-3, and then hit the ball with authority.”

Warriors’ freshman ace right-hander Emily Meyer literally delivered the first part of Jack Von Bank’s winning formula by retiring the Bulldogs in order during the top of the first inning.

Steinberger and Cassie Beadle then legged out back-to-back hits to set the table for North Union’s high-octane offensive outburst during the home half of the first. Steinberger stole home by eluding a tag during a rundown between third base and the plate before an errant Lake Mills throw allowed her to score the game’s initial run.

Beadle later scored when Olivia Von Bank’s scorched one-hop grounder to shortstop was mishandled before Von Bank eventually touched the plate on the heels of two stolen bases and a wild pitch, respectively, for a 3-0 lead.

Catcher Kaylee Tirevold then drew the first of her three consecutive walks on the night before courtesy runner Shelby Fraker swiped second base and scored when the throw to third on her stolen-base attempt sailed into left field.

Vanessa Von Bank, who was hit by a Dottie Byars’ delivery, later crossed the plate on Meyer’s bloop RBI single down the right-field line for a 5-0 lead.

Naomi Jones, Meyer’s courtesy runner, along with Ella Ulrich and Sam Nielsen, circled the bases when Steinberger jack-hammered a three-run double to the right-center gap. Steinberger, who reached third on the throw to the plate, slid home on Beadle’s squeeze bunt for a 9-0 margin.

Olivia Von Bank then lofted a double that sailed over the Lake Mills left fielder’s head and scored two wild pitches later for a double-digit North Union advantage.

Meyer then notched her lone strikeout of her two-inning pitching stint and gloved two grounders for outs to quickly send the Warriors’ offense back to the batter’s box.

Maggie Engelby singled, Meyer walked and Ulrich was plunked to load the bases for Nielsen. Nielsen’s grounder to shortstop was thrown away, allowing Engelby and courtesy runner Jones to score. Ulrich and Nielsen eventually scored on wild pitches, while Steinberger — who had walked — trotted home on Beadle’s RBI groundout.

Olivia Von Bank allowed Leah Moen’s single-and-error during her one inning of relief. Von Bank hit Brooke Bergo with a delivery before Moen scored on the backside of a double steal.

North Union (6-2, 3-1 West) will complete its game with St. Edmond that was originally suspended in the fourth inning earlier this season, starting at 5 p.m. Thursday in Swea City. A new varsity contest will follow the completion of the junior varsity game.

Lake Mills ( 0)01 — 1 1 2

No. Union (10)5x — 15 8 1

Dottie Byars (LP), Leah Moen (2) and Madison Edwards. Emily Meyer (WP), Olivia Von Bank (3) and Kaylee Tirevold.

LOB–North Union 3, Lake Mills 2. 2B–Hope Steinberger (NU), O. Von Bank (NU). SAC–Cassie Beadle (NU).

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