FORT DODGE — The Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks got caught in “no-man’s land,” and are now stuck on the wrong side of the bracket.
Second-ranked East Marshall got home runs from Ashley Allen and Sophia Grego, then made a big defensive play in the seventh inning to hold off Mid-Prairie, 4-3, in a Class 3A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Monday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“We usually do this,” said Mid-Prairie’s Amber Kral, who reached base all four times she came to the plate. “We start kind of slow, then pick it up.”
The Golden Hawks (25-11) didn’t have a hit until the fifth inning, and faced deficits of 3-0 and 4-1. But they made it extremely interesting in the seventh.
Alex Rath’s RBI single closed Mid-Prairie within 4-2, and when Lexi Duwa singled, Mid-Prairie had the tying run on base with one out.
Kral singled home Rath, but Duwa was caught in a rundown between second and third, and eventually retired.
“I had her coming (to third),” said Mid-Prairie Coach Kara Beatty. “She’s the fastest kid on our team.
“But their left fielder (Madison Hinegarder) made a great throw to the cutoff girl (Allen, the catcher), and we kind of got caught in no-man’s land.”
Mustangs pitcher Mariah Fritz (26-1) struck out Taylor Kurtz looking to end it, allowing East Marshall (33-3) to advance to Thursday’s semifinal against No. 9 Bondurant-Farrar. The defending-champion Lady Jays (21-13) bumped West Burlington-Notre Dame.
Mid-Prairie faces West Burlington-Notre Dame (23-13) in a consolation game at 9 a.m. Wednesday, then will play for fifth or seventh place at noon.
East Marshall took the lead in the bottom of the first inning on Taylor Fricke’s RBI single, and retained the upper hand throughout.
Allen blasted a two-run homer (her ninth of the season) in the third to make it 3-0. Rath singled home a run in the fifth to bring the Golden Hawks within 3-1, then East Marshall answered on Grego’s solo shot.
Kral walked three times before singling in the seventh.
“I didn’t swing at anything they wanted me to swing at,” she said. “We knew Fritz would start high and stay high.”
EAST MARSHALL 4, MID-PRAIRIE 3 (Class 3A Quarterfinal)
Mid-Prairie 000 010 2 — 3 6 0
East Marshall 102 010 x — 4 6 0
Taylor Kurtz and Ali Naylor. Mariah Fritz and Ashley Allen. W — Fritz (26-1). L — Kurtz (16-5). HR — EM: Allen (9), Sophia Grego (1).
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