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No. 14 Warriors softball team flattens Cardinals, 12-0

SAFE! — North Union hitter Hope Steinberger (left) beats the throw from Garner-Hayfield/Ventura third baseman Kaitlyn Robinson (back right) to Cardinals first baseman Emily Van Dusseldorp (25) during Iowa prep softball action Friday night in Swea City. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

SWEA CITY — North Union leadoff batter Hope Steinberger delivered the one gift that her mother Stacy Steinberger wanted for her birthday on Friday night — a home run.

Hope Steinberger utilized her track speed to generate an inside-the-park homer and tallied a game-best four runs to power the Iowa Class 2A No. 14-ranked Warrior softball team’s 12-0, four-inning landslide victory over the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura Cardinals in Swea City.

“Since it was her birthday, I gave her the night off from watching tonight’s game, and she didn’t get to see it,” a grinning Hope Steinberger said in reference to her two-run shot during the bottom of the third inning.

Steinberger went 2-for-3 with a walk and a game-best three RBIs, while ace right-hander Emily Meyer made key contributions from both inside the pitching circle and the batter’s box to engineer the Warriors’ early exit from the ballpark due to the 12-run rule.

Meyer allowed a two-out single to Maddie Graham during the top of the first inning before retiring 10 consecutive Cardinal batters to cap her one-hit complete-game shutout. Meyer, who opened the season with back-to-back no-hitters, recorded five strikeouts and did not issue a walk in four innings of work to earn the win.

“Our defense hasn’t committed an error during the past couple of games, and Emily’s control has been great — five strikeouts and no walks tonight,” said Warriors’ head coach Kim Price. “This week was about regaining the momentum and getting our confidence back after losing a couple of games earlier.”

North Union also demonstrated its consistent offensive production by plating three runs in each of the contest’s four frames Friday night. Steinberger served as the home team’s catalyst by crossing the plate in each at-bat, including ending the game by stealing third base and scoring the decisive run on the Cardinal catcher’s overthrow.

Steinberger legged out an infield hit to open the bottom of the first inning, swiped second base and eventually scored on a pair of wild pitches. Cassie Beadle and Olivia Von Bank drew back-to-back walks before Olivia Von Bank circled the bases on Vanessa Von Bank’s RBI single. Beadle was thrown out trying to steal third earlier in the inning.

Meyer, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, lined a single before back-to-back walks to Maggie Engelby and Kaylee Tirevold forced home Vanessa Von Bank for a 3-0 lead. Tirevold netted an RBI on her bases-loaded walk.

Steinberger drew a leadoff walk to set the second inning’s offensive tone. The speedy center fielder stole second base before scoring when Libby Stevens’ pinch-hit grounder was mishandled.

Stevens reached third on back-to-back wild pitches, stayed put on a walk to Vanessa Von Bank and scored on Meyer’s squeeze bunt. Vanessa Von Bank scored after Engelby singled and Tirevold’s right-side grounder was booted en route to a 6-0 margin.

Sam Nielsen then walked to lead off the Warriors’ third at-bat before Steinberger’s sinking liner to left field bounced away from the GHV outfielder and rolled to the fence. Steinberger sprinted the distance to earn an inside-the-park two-run HR.

“After I rounded second and headed to third, I wasn’t going to stop,” Steinberger said.

Olivia Von Bank later doubled to the left-center gap and scored on Meyer’s RBI single to left to inch the Warriors to a 9-0 lead after three completed frames.

Tirevold led off North Union’s fourth at-bat with a single before courtesy runner Shelby Fraker moved to second on Ella Ulrich’s sacrifice bunt and scored on an error during Nielsen’s bunt hit. Nielsen, who had reached third on a stolen base and throwing error, then scored on Steinberger’s mishandled grounder to short. Steinberger then swiped second and motored home with the game-ending run when the throw to third sailed into left field.

North Union (9-2) travels to Mason City, Iowa, tonight for a 7:30 p.m. clash with Class 1A No. 10-ranked Newman Catholic, while Garner-Hayfield/Ventura (3-8) travels to Clear Lake, Iowa, tonight.

GHV 000 0 — 0 1 6

NU 333 3 — 12 9 0

Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Maddie Graham (LP), Kylie Hughes (3) and Jailyn Krein. Emily Meyer (WP) and Kaylee Tirevold.

LOB–North Union 6, Garner-Hayfield/Ventura 1. 2B–Olivia Von Bank (NU). HR–Hope Steinberger (NU). SAC–Meyer (NU) and Ella Ulrich (NU).

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