SHELDON - Having played George-Little Rock/Central Lyon once this season, fifth-ranked Estherville Lincoln Central entered the Class 3A Region Final against the Mustangs with loads of confidence.
It showed on the field and at the plate as the Midgets produced a 10-0, six-inning victory. The night was highlighted by a grand slam home run by Kristen King in the fifth inning. Also Kendall Bosch hit a two-run home run to end the game in the bottom of the sixth.
The Midgets head to the state tournament for the second straight season.
Estherville Lincoln Central’s Kristen King is greeted at home plate after a grand slam against George-Little Rock Central Lyon in Monday’s Class 3A Region Final at Sheldon.
EDN photo by Chloe Rosdail
"I think we're a better team this year," said ELC coach Megan Anderson. "We're more focused and a little more mature."
Bosch struck out nine batters including seven the first time through the lineup. The ELC defense played perfect behind her.
After placing fifth at state last year, the Midgets will try to improve their fortunes this time.
"We have new goals," said Bosch. "We know the pressure of going down there (to state) and we'll see if we can finish it."
ELC (27-6) will play East Marshall (30-5) at 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 16 on Diamond 2 at Harlan Rogers Field in Fort Dodge. The other half of the bracket as top-ranked Solon (35-6) taking Waukon (14-17).
Monday night against the Mustangs, ELC struck first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning.
With one-out Macy Dahl struck out, but reached base when catcher Lexy Ackerman dropped the third strike and first baseman Kelsey Ackerman dropped the throw.
Emily Kirchner made the Mustangs pay with an RBI triple.
With Bosch at the plate attempting a squeeze bunt that missed, Kirchner was caught between second and third. The Mustang catcher threw down to third to try to get Kirchner in a rundown, but the speedy junior broke for home and scored.
ELC had more chances to score as GLR/CL pitcher Abigail Eden walked five batters over the next two innings, but the Midgets couldn't come up with a hit.
But ELC loaded the bases in the fourth inning as Sadie Winter led off with a single followed by a walk to Caitlyn Clayton and Kellie Christensen reached on an error. A walk to King drove in one run and then Dahl hit a sacrifice fly to left field as ELC led 4-0.
In the fifth inning, Christina Tendal reached on an error. Two outs later, Clayton and Christensen drew back-to-back walks.
That set up King, who sent the first pitch over the left-field fence for a grand slam.
"I didn't realize it was over until I got to first base," said King of her first home run of the season.
With an 8-0 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Kirchner led off with a double and then Bosch hit her home run to end the game.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs got a lead runner on each of the final three innings.
Their best chance to score came in the fourth as Lexi Ackermann led off with a double and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jessica Sandbulte. But Jessica Hilbrands popped up to Bosch and cleanup batter Kori Schulte popped up to first baseman Tendal.
Keeley Kruse led of the fifth inning with a single, but was stranded there after two pop-ups and a strikeout.
In the sixth inning, No. 9 batter Kelsey Ackerman singled. Bosch then struck out Lexi Ackerman for her ninth strikeout. Sandbulte hit a grounder to Tendal who took it to first unassisted. Hilbrands then flew out to Kirchner at shortstop.
ELC finished with seven hits in the game. King was 1-3 with five RBIs. Bosch was 2-3 with two RBIs while Kirchner was 2-2 with an RBI. Winter and Christensen each went 1-2.
For GLR/CL, Abigal Eben struck out two batters and walked 10.
GLR/CL000 000 0 3 3
ELC200 242 10 7 0
WP Bosch. LP - Eben