FORT DODGE, Iowa — North Linn was making its state softball tournament debut. Wapello had not been on this stage in 20 years.
The top-ranked Lynx acclimated themselves to the surroundings quicker than the Arrows on Monday afternoon.
North Linn capitalized on four Wapello errors in the first three innings to register a 6-0 victory in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“Just silly errors, errors that we haven’t made this whole season,” Wapello pitcher Sam Smith said.
The Lynx, who entered as the top hitting team in the 2A state field with a .382 average, mustered only four hits against the southpaw Smith.
“That’s the most frustrating part there,” Wapello coach Ashley Hahnbaum said. “We’ve been solid defensively all year. It just takes one game.”
Wapello could not generate any offense against junior Abby Flanagan, who struck out 10 and tossed a three-hitter. The Arrows didn’t have a runner get past second base.
Flanagan stifled Wapello with her riseball early. She fanned seven of the Arrows’ first nine hitters.
“I think just because so many people told us that North Linn had a really good pitcher and good riseball, our team was freaking out about it,” Wapello sophomore Sammy Ewart said. “We needed to overcome it.”
Ewart had two of Wapello’s hits, a single in the first and another in the fourth. She advanced to second with one out in the fourth, but two pop outs ended the scoring threat.
“We struggled early in the regular season with the riseball, but we figured out halfway through the season to let that stuff go,” Hahnbaum said. “I think it was nerves early because they remembered that midway through the game and we started making contact.”
The damage already was done.
North Linn (40-4) struck for two runs in the opening inning. Hannah Bridgewater drew a leadoff walk and Katie Sommerfelt ripped a run-scoring triple past the first-base bag. Sommerfelt scored on a ground out.
The Lynx added on with an unearned run in the second and three more unearned runs in the third. Wapello had two overthrows and a dropped pop up near the pitching circle.
“We just didn’t put it all together,” Hahnbaum said.
Wapello (17-13) plays Dyersville Beckman, a 3-2 loser to Mount Ayr, in a consolation game at 1 p.m. Tuesday to conclude its season.