Number three Mid-Prairie advanced to Monday’s class 3A regional final with a 4-1 win over Mt. Vernon in regional semi final play Friday night in Kalona. Mid-Prairie defeated the Mustangs earlier 10-0 in just five innings but Friday would prove to be a tougher test. The Hawks got on the board first in the second inning when the frame began with three straight hits. After Amber Kral and Maddie Kaalberg reached on singles, Mariah Swartzentruber drove in Kral with a double to center off of Mt. Vernon starter Michaela Martin.
Mt. Vernon cut the lead in half in the fourth inning. The inning included a Golden Hawk error, a walk and three straight hits with Lily Dahlstrom driving in Coutney Maddocks. In the sixth inning Mid-Prairie got some much needed insurance from a familiar source. Senior Erika Murphy stepped into the box and promptly sent one out of the park on a two run homer to left scoring Swartzentruber. After the game Murphy talked about the sequence at the plate.
“Tonight she was throwing me the same pitch as my first pitch, both [of my previous at bats] and I told myself I wasn’t going to let that happen again, and I was going to jump all over it and that is what I did,” Murphy said.
The Mustangs attempted a two out rally in the seventh bringing the tying run to the plate but Mid-Prairie starter Olivia Lugar closed the door on the comeback. Lugar took the win for Mid-Prairie going all seven, giving up four hits, one unearned run, walking three and striking out one. Martin took the loss surrendering seven hits, four runs, two of them earned, walking three and striking out three. After the game Head Coach Justin Lutjen talked about his team rising to the occasion in a big game.
“That’s what they do, I mean these kids are extremely talented, I mean at their positions they do some extraordinary things. I know it has to make Olivia [Lugar's] jobs a lot easier, knowing that she has got those kids behind her, and it makes me a lot more confident calling certain different pitches in different situations, and at this point we expect them to make plays like that, they’re just extremely talented kids and they absolutely stepped up tonight,” Lutjen said. “That is what is great about our order, one through nine can swing the bat, if somebody off night we do a really good job of picking them up. Seniors, they want to get to state, they’ve been here before, they’ve been in these situations before, they don’t get too excited or too frustrated, and they have quality at bats tonight and I was proud of them.”
With the win Mid-Prairie is now 29-10, advancing to the regional final Monday night in Wilton where they will battle Davenport Assumption for the right to go to the state tournament in Ft. Dodge. These two squared off at the Davenport West tournament on June 8th with Mid-Prairie winning a tight 7-6 game. You can hear all of the action live on AM and FM KCII Monday night from Wilton with pregame at 6:30 and first pitch at 7PM. The one to count on for today’s local sports coverage is AM and FM KCII.