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North Union edges Louisa-Muscatine in state softball quarterfinal, 4-3

PUMPED UP — North Union Warriors’ third baseman Cassie Beadle clings to the softball as she tags out Louisa-Muscatine runner Lily Fischer to complete an inning-ending double play in the sixth during Tuesday’s Iowa Class 2A state quarterfinal at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Warriors’ left fielder Sam Nielsen gets pumped up on the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FORT DODGE, Iowa — First baseman Maggie Engelby and catcher Shelby Fraker teamed up to make the key defensive play to lift the No. 2-seeded North Union Warriors past the No. 7-seeded Louisa-Muscatine Falcons 4-3 in Tuesday’s Iowa Class 2A state quarterfinal game on Kruger Seeds Field at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.

The Warriors (33-3) play at 3:30 p.m. today against the No. 6-seeded Wilton Beavers (27-6) in a state semifinal at the Iowa Central Field back at the Rogers Sports Complex. Wilton upset the No. 3-seeded Logan Magnolia Panthers (28-1) by a 7-4 decision on Tuesday.

The Falcons had the momentum, scoring a run in the top of the seventh to cut the deficit to one run and had the tying and go-ahead runners on base.

With two outs, Fraker picked off the Louisa-Muscatine runner at first base with the quick throw to Engelby, who made the tag that ended the seventh-inning rally and game.

“I knew where the runners were at and I saw Shelby look at me and make the quick throw,” Engelby said. “It was a risky play because the throw could have gone into right field, but I had confidence in Shelby. She made a great throw and I knew I had to catch it and quickly make the tag. She was out and we won. It was an exciting finish.”

“We never gave up,” North Union head coach Kim Price said. “We knew we would need all 21 outs today. We practice that type of play, and Shelby and Maggie executed it perfectly.”

The Warriors were outhit 9-5.

North Union’s Libby Stevens drove in a pair of runs with a third-inning single, Beadle scored on a wild pitch in the third inning and Emily Meyer hit a solo home run in the first inning to account for its four runs.

The Warriors built the 4-0 lead, but the Falcons chipped away, scoring single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to make it a 4-2 game.

A Falcons’ base-running blunder in the sixth inning stalled any momentum. McKenna Hohenadel hit a ball to the fence for the Falcons with runners on first and second and one out, but Brynn Jeambey had a late jump and only reached third base.

Lily Fischer rounded second base and was running toward the bag. Jeambey tried to score from third, but Fraker tagged her out in a rundown and Fischer was thrown out at third base for the inning-ending double play.

McKenzie Kissell had two doubles and Piper Brant had two singles to lead Louisa-Muscatine’s offense. Hohenadel, Fischer, Morgan Stecher, Hannah Kissell and Madilyn Eishelberger each added a hit apiece.

Stevens had two hits to lead North Union. Beadle, Meyer and Engelby added a hit apiece.

Meyer was the winning pitcher for North Union, going seven innings, giving up three runs and nine hits with one walk with three strikeouts.

Brant was the losing pitcher for Louisa-Muscatine, going six innings, giving up four runs, five hits, three walks, two hit batters while striking out six.

LM 000 110 1–3 9 0

NU 103 000 X–4 5 3

Piper Brant (LP) and Morgan Stecher. Emily Meyer (WP) and Shelby Fraker.

LOB–Louisa-Muscatine 9, North Union 8. 2B–McKenzie Kissell (LM) 2. HR–Emily Meyer (NU). SAC–Beth Streuber (NU).

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