While Estherville Lincoln Central wasn't quite as efficient in its Class 3A second-round game, the Midgets' 7-1 victory was just as effective.
ELC jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. While the Cardinals threatened to score a couple times, the Midget defense limited the visitors to just one unearned run in the first inning.
"They kept battling and had runners in scoring position, but we shut them down and that's what matters," said ELC coach Megan Anderson.
Estherville Lincoln Central’s Liz Brashear struck out 10 batters in the Midgets’ win over Garner-Hayfield/Ventura on Friday.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Meanwhile. ELC junior pitcher Liz Brashear struck out a season-high 10 batters, successfully fielded two grounders and caught a line drive as she accounted for 13 of the game's 21 outs. The Cardinals managed just three hits and Brashear gave up three walks.
The Midgets (19-10) advance to Monday's Region 2 final in Sheldon against sixth-ranked Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (22-3). The Nighthawks defeated Sioux Center, 6-0, on Friday. Monday's winner advances to the state tournament as ELC seeks a third consecutive trip to Fort Dodge.
Against Garner-Hayfield/Ventura, ELC went to work with two outs in the top of the first inning. Emily Kirchner reached on an error and scored on a single by Liz Brashear. Brashear advanced to second on the throw home. Courtesy runner Jordan Phillips entered to run and went to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Caitlyn Clayton. Clayton stole second and scored on a single by Megan Jensen.
GH/V scored its only run as leadoff batter Maddie Tusha reached base on an uncharacteristic error by shortstop Kirchner. Two outs later, Tusha scored on a single by cleanup batter Payton Bamrick.
ELC got that run back in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Macy Dahl singled, stole second and then stole third. The Cardinal third baseman missed the throw from the catcher as Dahl scored.
ELC added to its lead in the third inning. Kirchner again reached on an error, this time by the GHV shortstop. She went to second on a passed ball and then stole third base. After Brashear drew a walk and courtesy runner Phillips stole second, Kirchner scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Clayton.
Jensen followed with a line drive down the left-field line with the outfielder just barely able to get a glove on the ball. The carom off the glove allowed Jensen to go all the way to third for an RBI triple. With two outs, Sarah Schacherer followed with a single to score Jensen. But Schacherer was thrown out trying to reach second on the play.
ELC had runners on third base three of the final four innings, but couldn't get the runner home. Meanwhile, the Cardinals only got one runner as far as second base the final four innings.
Jensen finished 2-4 with two RBIs while Dahl was 2-4, Clayton was 1-3 with two RBIs and Brashear and Schacherer each were 1-3 with an RBI.
Class 3A Region 2
Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley's three losses this season have been to Western Christian, 2-1, in the first game of the year; George-Little Rock/Central Lyon, 6-5, and Sioux Center, 8-4. ELC lost twice to Western Christian this season and also lost to Sioux Center.
The Nighthawks have not allowed a run in their last four games. They have four runners batting over .400 and two more over .300. Senior pitcher Joanna Heemstra is 18-2 this season with a 1.26 ERA. She has 59 strikeouts to 20 walks. Sophomore backup CJ Van Der Zwaag has only started four games, but pitched 48 1/3 innings. She has 56 strikeouts and 19 walks with a 2.75 ERA.