North Union softball is headed back to the state tournament after defeating Ridge View 9-4 last night in the Class 2A – Region 1 championship game in Swea City.
Top of Iowa West player of the year Emily Meyer gave the Warriors the combination of offense and pitching they needed, finishing 2/3 at the plate with six RBI, including a backbreaking three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the game away, while pitching the full seven innings, striking out seven and walking one, while allowing four runs on seven hits.
The Warriors would fall behind early in the top of the first inning, as Addison Schmidt delivered a two out, run scoring single to right field to deliver the first run of the game and give Ridge View a 1-0 lead.
The lead wouldn’t last long, as the Warriors answered back with three in the bottom of the first. Meyer delivered a two run double to the left center field gap, and several batters later, Libby Stevens doubled down the right field line to to provide the third run of the inning. The Warriors were able to capitalize on two errors by the Raptors during the frame.
Ridge View would draw one run closer in the fourth, as Sky Henkel hit her first of two homers, taking Meyer deep to left field to make the score 3-2.
North Union responded once again in the bottom of the fifth, recording three runs on four hits, capping off the inning with a Beth Streuber RBI single to make the score 6-2.
The Raptors would make one final rally, as Henkel homered off of Meyer for the second time in the game. Her two-run blast to center in the top of the sixth brought the score for 6-4, and gave Henkel her third longball of the season, but the Warriors had one more response in the bottom of the sixth, as Meyer answered with a home run of her own, a no-doubt, three-run shot to left field to bring the score to 9-4. Meyer worked around one baserunner in the top of the seventh, and retired Shae Dutler on a soft lineout to first base for the final out of the game.
North Union heads down to Fort Dodge to compete at state for the second year in a row, as the #2 seeded Warriors will face #7 seeded Louisa-Muscatine on Tuesday at 1:00 P.M. The winner will advance to face the winner of #3 Logan-Magnolia and #6 Wilton in the semifinal round, taking place on Wednesday at 3:30. The losing teams in those games will matchup in a consolation game on Wednesday at 11:30 A.M.
On the other side of the Class 2A bracket, #1 Central Springs matches up with #8 Mount Ayr at 3:00 on Tuesday, while #4 Iowa City Regina battles #5 Van Meter at 3:30.