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No. 2 Warriors tame Broncos, 10-0, in 5 innings

LINE’EM UP — North Union’s Naomi Jones (right) runs through a line of her Warrior teammates while receiving congratulations after slugging a first-inning home run during Top of Iowa Conference softball action Wednesday in Swea City. (Photo by Greg Abel)

SWEA CITY — Cleanup hitter Naomi Jones lined a vapor-trail home run over the 180-foot sign in the left-field corner to stake Iowa Class 2A, No. 2-ranked North Union to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday night.

Junior ace right-hander Emily Meyer and the hometown defense then went on to limit the Belmond-Klemme Broncos to just two hits as the Warriors literally walked their way to 10-0 five-inning run-rule triumph in Swea City.

“Our overall team defense has been solid in the field behind Emily all season,” said North Union head coach Kim Price, whose lineup has committed only a dozen errors in 24 games this summer. “Sam (Nielsen) made a nice catch in left field during the top of the first inning to prevent a hit for extra bases.”

With two out, Allison Barrus drilled a deep fly ball to left field during the Top of Iowa Conference clash, but the fleet-footed Nielsen tracked it down for the stretched-out catch to end the inning unscathed.

Meyer then assisted her own cause by getting plunked by Broncos’ right-hander Emilie Dougherty with two out in the home half of the first. Courtesy runner Aliyah Jones then jogged home when older sibling Naomi Jones drilled a line-drive HR over the left-field fence for a quick 2-0 lead.

“She has struggled a little bit offensively, but she hit that one with authority tonight,” Price said in reference to Naomi Jones’ first round-tripper of the summer campaign. “After that, we received a lot of walks before Libby (Stevens) and Shelby (Fraker) delivered clutch hits with runners in scoring position with two outs in the fourth.”

Ahead 3-0, Fraker, Ella Ulrich and Nielsen drew consecutive walks from Dougherty to open the Warriors’ fourth at-bat before Meyer netted an RBI when she was hit for a second time on the game with a delivery.

Naomi Jones collected her game-best fourth RBI via a bases-loaded walk before Dougherty exited the chalked circle in favor of Kaylen Morris. Morris struck out the first batter she faced before Fraker and Ulrich circled the bases when Beth Streuber’s grounder went between the first baseman’s legs.

Stevens hammered a two-run double down the third-base line before Fraker lined a run-scoring single back through the box to widen North Union’s advantage to 10-0.

Meyer recorded three consecutive groundouts to close out the top of the fifth en route to improving her seasonal pitching record to 22-2 overall. Meyer notched a game-leading seven strikeouts, issued two walks and allowed two hits in five scoreless innings of work to net the complete-game win.

Ashlynn Willms and Jennah Meyer produced a second-inning single and a third-frame hit, respectively, to account for all of the Broncos’ offensive production.

Nielsen singled and later crossed the plate on Naomi Jones’ RBI fielder’s choice during the third inning. Nielsen and Naomi Jones each scored two runs apiece.

Dougherty gave up eight runs on two hits, walked eight, hit two batters and fanned three in 3 1/3 innings of work to receive the loss for the Broncos.

No. 2-ranked North Union (22-2) squares off against No. 1-ranked Central Springs at 6 p.m. tonight in Swea City.

BK 000 00 — 0 2 1

NU 201 7X — 10 4 0

Emilie Dougherty (LP), Kaylen Morris (4) and Ashlynn Willms. Emily Meyer (WP, 22-2) and Shelby Fraker.

LOB–North Union 5, Belmond-Klemme 4. 2B–Libby Stevens (NU). HR–Naomi Jones (NU). SAC–Molly Hartwig (BK).

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