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Lady Spartans punch ticket to fort dodge

No. 3 Lady Spartans smother No. 12 North Scott in regional final
Emily Ira struck out 11 Marion batters while allowing only two hits.

SOLON– It’s a return trip.
Solon’s Lady Spartans defeated No. 12 North Scott 9-1 Tuesday to advance to the Class 4A state softball tournament in Fort Dodge.
The Lady Spartans cranked out 14 hits against North Scott, while Emily Ira held the Lancers without a hit until the seventh inning.
Solon faced North Scott in a Region 3 substate final after defeating Marion 7-1 Saturday, July 12, in a regional semifinal which was halted twice by lightning delays and ended after five innings.
The Lady Spartans enter the tournament with a record of 37-2 after picking up their second loss of the year last week against No. 8 Class 5A Iowa City West in the last game of the regular season.
Solon, ranked No. 3 in the Class 4A rankings, also took a pair from Cedar Rapids Prairie Tuesday, July 8.
Ira struck out 15 batters in a 2-0 win over Prairie in the opening game, allowing only one hit and walking none.
The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when Ali Herdliska uncorked a home run with Sydney Lawson on base. The Lady Spartans had seven hits for the game, with two each for Ira (including a double) and Jess Heick.
In the nightcap, Solon’s bats banged out 13 hits, including a home run by Heick, in a 10-5 victory. Two of Taylor Nearad’s three hits were triples, while Lawson was 2-4 with a triple and scored twice. Herdliska, Heick and Riley Ogden had multiple-hit games as well.
Holly Hinkel grabbed the win on the mound, striking out five and allowing five runs on eight hits in seven innings of work.
Ira picked up her first loss of the season at Iowa City West Wednesday, July 9, giving up three earned runs while striking out 10 batters.
Solon jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but the Women of Troy battled back, picking up a run in the third and then tying the game at 4-4 in the seventh.
The game went to extra innings with West plating the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
Nearad was 2-3 with a double and scored twice, with Mallory Madsen and Ira each picking up an RBI.
Ira was pitching again Saturday in the opening game of postseason play against Marion. She struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in a 7-1 win shortened to five innings by the weather.
The Lady Spartans pounded four doubles and a triple, with Nearad and Herdliska combining for five RBI. Madsen, Lawson and Riley Ogden each had two-hit games, and Solon had eight stolen bases.
The Class 4A state softball tournament will begin Monday, July 21, with the championship scheduled for Friday, July 25, at 4:45 p.m. at Harlan Rogers Park north of Fort Dodge.