FORT DODGE — Katie Springer knows her response if she had to face Highland’s speedy lineup.
“I’d be scared,” she said. “I’d be really scared.”
Top-ranked Highland put its wheels in motion Tuesday, racing to a 5-0 victory over Saint Ansgar in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Tuesday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
Kelsey Hora collected three hits, Cheyann Adamson sprinted around the bases on a Little League-style home run and Springer retired the final 14 batters she faced as the Huskies (32-1) cruised to their 25th consecutive victory.
They’ll face No. 5 Eddyville EBF (25-5) in a semifinal at 11 a.m. Thursday. And win or lose, they’ll hit the ground running.
“We have some big hitters,” said Highland Coach Carrie Wieland. “But, yeah, we love to run and focus on our small ball.”
Highland took the lead with a second-inning tally, then broke it open with three runs in the third.
Adamson led it off with an infield single that quickly turned into much more. The throw sailed into right field, and Adamson raced all the way around.
“I saw the ball get past the first baseman, then get past the outfielder,” Adamson said. “I knew with my quickness I could get all the way around.”
Hora scored on a wild pitch, Bailey Walsh tacked on an RBI single, and Highland was up 4-0.
That was plenty.
Springer (28-1) was hit hard in her last appearance, an 11-10 regional-final win over Pella Christian. Not this day. She yielded three hits and just four baserunners — none after the third inning.
“She needed this one,” Wieland said. “She needs to keep believing in her fastball and all those other pitches that move around.”
Saint Ansgar (19-9) had the first scoring threat, with runners at first and third with two outs in the bottom of the first.
Usually, a steal in that case in uncontested. Instead, Highland catcher Courtnee Hahn threw a strike to throw out the runner and drench the threat.
“No, we’re not going to concede that,” Wieland said. “I believe in my pitcher and catcher.”
HIGHLAND 5, SAINT ANSGAR 0 (Class 2A Quarterfinal)
Highland 013 001 0 — 5 9 1
Saint Ansgar 000 000 0 — 0 3 4
Katie Springer and Courtnee Hahn. Alex Patterson and Mel Gerbig. W — Springer (28-1). L — Patterson (19-7).
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