Warriors clinch league crown
LAKE MILLS, Iowa — The Iowa Class 2A No. 7-ranked North Union Warriors clinched the Top of Iowa Conference West Division softball championship by outslugging the Lake Mills Bulldogs, 12-7, Monday night.
Olivia Von Bank doubled three consecutive times to produce a game-best four RBIs, Shelby Fraker went 4-for-4, while Maggie Engelby went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs to help North Union improve to 13-1 in league play.
The Warriors erupted for three runs in the top of the first inning, generated two more in the second and tacked on four in the third to build a 9-0 lead before the hometown Bulldogs rallied with four runs in the bottom of the third.
Sam Nielsen and Cassie Beadle delivered back-to-back singles to get North Union’s offense revving in the first. Olivia Von Bank then drilled a two-run double, but was thrown out trying to stretch the extra-base hit into a triple.
Vanessa Von Bank, Fraker and Engelby later strung together consecutive two-out hits, with Von Bank scoring on Engelby’s RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Nielsen legged out an infield hit during the top of the second and later scored on Olivia Von Bank’s RBI double. Von Bank then circled the bases when Emily Meyer’s hard-hit grounder was mishandled for a 5-0 edge.
Naomi Jones served as the Warriors’ third-inning catalyst by lining a single before Ella Ulrich walked. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch before crossing the plate when Nielsen’s grounder was misplayed.
Nielsen later scored her third run of the game on Olivia Von Bank’s third RBI double before Von Bank swiped third and trotted home on Meyer’s RBI groundout.
The Bulldogs, however, combined two walks with one Warrior error to load the bases in the bottom of the third. Finley Rogstad then spoiled Meyer’s no-hit bid by lining an RBI single. One out later, Kit Byars hammered a three-run triple to slice North Union’s lead to 9-4.
Brynn Rognes’ two-run double and Scout Kohagen’s RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth narrowed Lake Mills’ deficit to 9-7.
The Warriors answered with a solo insurance run in the sixth before Engelby hammered a key two-run double in the seventh to create a five-run cushion.
Meyer allowed seven runs –only two earned — on six hits, struck out six and walked five in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for the Warriors.
North Union (23-4) plays host to Eagle Grove at 6 p.m. Wednesday night in Swea City.