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No. 14 Warriors bunt past Titans

BEATING THE THROW — North Union runner Cassie Beadle (left) beats the throw from Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire catcher Madison Hough (back left) to Titan first baseman Lauren Josephson (15) during Iowa prep softball action Tuesday night in Swea City. GTRA pitcher Hailey Ebel (back middle) and third baseman Sierra Kluever (far right) watch the play. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

SWEA CITY — Small ball saved the day for the Iowa Class 2A No. 14-ranked North Union Warriors on Tuesday.

North Union bunted its way to a five-run sixth inning and downed the Graetinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire Titans 5-1 in the Warriors final home game of the season in Swea City.

Starting pitcher Emily Meyer continued her excellent 2020 season with her 10th win in a complete game.

Meyer held the Titans off the scoreboard until the fifth, when one run gave GTRA the first score of the day, but the Warriors bats came alive soon after.

“We’ve had multiple games this year where we utilize small ball,” Warrior head coach Kim Price said. “Our ninth batter (Sam Nielsen) and our second batter (Cassie Beadle) are both slappers from the left side, so they bunt a lot and use their speed. Especially in a close game like tonight, if you’ve got girls on base, it’s a surefire way to move that runner. … We were able to take advantage of the situation and create chaos in the defense.”

Beadle got the inning started with a bunt down the third-base line, beating the throw by a step.

Olivia Von Bank kept the inning going with a single through the left side of the infield, then Vanessa Von Bank attempted to drop a sacrifice bunt, but the throw to first was wild, allowing Beadle to score and putting runners on second and third with no outs.

Meyer helped her own cause, dropping a bunt down the first-base line for an RBI and beating the throw to first. Meyer stole second, then Maggie Engelby effectively dropped a sacrifice bunt for an RBI, leaving a runner on third with one out.

Meyer was erased from the basepath on a diving tag from Titan third baseman Sierra Kluever, but the Warriors used another single and an error to put Hope Steinberger at the plate with two outs and the bases loaded.

Steinberger slapped a single over the Titan shortstop for an RBI and the Warriors’ fifth run.

North Union totaled four hits and used two errors to build its five-run inning, while batting around and sending 10 batters to the plate.

Meyer pitched her final inning without issue to earn the win.

“I think they (Warriors) came ready to play, they worked hard, they pushed through a couple little errors in judgement and defensive errors,” Price said. “It took a little bit to get on the bats and get on base, but once we did we were able to capitalize and utilize our small ball. … It was excellent when Maggie (Engelby) had two strikes, they didn’t expect her to bunt, but she got it down anyway. … All in all, I’m very proud of them.”

The Titans scored their lone run in the fifth when Emma Kral reached base on a single through the middle of the infield, then stole second and third, and scored on a wild pitch.

Beside Kral’s trip around the bases, Meyer allowed only five runners to reach scoring position.

Meyer allowed six hits and one walk while striking out six.

Hailey Ebel pitched all six innings for the Titans, allowing five runs on 10 hits and one hit batter.

Before the game, the Warriors celebrated their two seniors, Steinberger and catcher Kaylee Tirevold.

Steinberger reached base twice, once when she was hit by a pitch and the other when she singled in the Warriors’ final run. Tirevold provided solid defense behind the plate and added a single and a run scored for the North Union offense.

Beadle had two hits, Olivia Von Bank and Vanessa Von Bank each had a single and a run scored, while Nielsen had two hits and reached base on an error.

Kral reached base twice for the Titans on a hit and a walk, while Natalie Swedin collected two hits.

North Union (10-3) has only two games left before the Iowa Class 2A Region 5 playoffs begin on July 16.

The Warriors play Iowa Class 1A No. 2-ranked Newell-Fonda (11-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday in Fonda, Iowa, then they go to Manson, Iowa, to face Manson-Nortwest Webster on Friday for their final regular-season game.

GTRA (12-3) goes to Manson to face Manson-NWW at 7 p.m. tonight.

GTRA 000 010 0 — 1 6 2

NU 000 005 x — 5 10 1

Hailey Ebel (LP) and Madison Hough. Emily Meyer (WP) and Kaylee Tirevold.

LOB — North Union 7, GTRA 9. SAC — Maggie Engelby (NU).

VFW Baseball

Maple River 10, Fairmont 9 (9 innings) — Maple River outlasted Fairmont during VFW extra-innings action Tuesday in Minnesota Lake.

Nate Soelter pitched four innings for Fairmont, allowing only one run on four hits. Lincoln Becker came on in relief, allowing five runs — two earned — in one inning, then Jacob Crissinger finished the game with four innings pitched and two runs allowed.

Cooper Steuber led the Fairmont bats with three hits and two RBIs, while Jack Kosbab and Soelter each had two hits and an RBI. Landen Meyerdirk and Becker each added one hit for Post 1222.

Fairmont plays host to St. James at 10 a.m. Saturday in Fairmont.

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