SWEA CITY, Iowa - Estherville Lincoln Central's softball team may have taken the 2-1 lead after two innings, but North Union rallied from behind to hold on for the 6-4 victory on Tuesday in Swea City.
"I thought that this was a close game from the beginning, they hung in there and really made us work for the win tonight," said North Union head coach Art Ingalls.
The Warriors got a little help in the form of a grand slam in the bottom of the second on a Dena Looft blast over the fence.
FIRING?TO?FIRST? — North Union senior third baseman Dena Looft (right) gets set to throw to first after fielding a grounder during softball action against Estherville Lincoln Central on Tuesday in Swea City. Peyton Oleson (left) ducks to get out of the way of the throw. (Kjestine Steinbring)
"I really thought that the grand slam was the turning point in the game for us, they had all the momentum before that, and we finally took a solid lead when Dena hit that," said Ingalls.
The Warriors did get on the board first to take the 1-0 lead, but a three-hit rally in the third quickly switched the momentum in the Midgets favor.
Elizabeth Brashear led off the inning with a hard hit to left and then courtesy runner Gabby Heckard took over for the Midgets' starting pitcher on the base paths.
Heckard raced to second when Rachel Bates lined a hit to left.
Sarah Schacherer stepped to the plate with runners on first and second with no outs, and delivered a blast to the bottom of the centerfield fence for a pair of RBIs and the 2-1 lead.
Peyton Oleson, the Warriors starter worked herself out of the jam though, sitting down the next three batters.
Breanna Anderson then led off the Warrior scoring rally in the bottom of the second, ripping a hit through the right side of the infield.
Taylor Mathine followed Anderson, who went 2-for-3 from the plate, with a blooper to centerfield for a hit, before Kyarsten Mullen reached first on a Midget fielding error.
With the bases loaded Looft, who went 2-for-4 in the game, crushed a Brashear delivery over the fence in left center for the grand slam to make it 5-2.
"Dena has always hit the ball hard and does a good job, but her mind is really in it right now. She's in the zone with hitting and today that was a huge one," said Ingalls.
The Midgets responded in the third inning, scoring to get back within two runs.
Megan Jensen led off the inning with a hit to left, then raced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bailey Fredricksen.
A passed ball allowed Jensen to motor to third, before she scored on Caitlyn Clayton's sacrifice fly to left.
"I thought that it was a solid game all around for us tonight, hitting and defensively," said Ingalls. "We were hoping to maybe be able to take Peyton out after a few innings, but tonight's game was just too close."
Oleson kept the Midgets on their heels most of the game, striking out eight and walking one, allowing four runs - two earned - on seven hits to earn the win.
"Peyton has been mixing up her pitches well, going with different speeds and spots. She's been pitching real well lately," said Ingalls.
The Warrior hurler also had a chance to help her own cause in the fifth inning.
Oleson led off with a double into the right field corner, before Kate Anderson stepped in as the courtesy runner on second.
Anna Ingalls then laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Kate Anderson to third. Then Erica Anderson scorched a grounder to second allowing Kate Anderson to score.
The Midgets rallied again in the top of the seventh, cutting the lead to 6-4, but did not have enough steam left.
Brashear went 2-for-4 at the plate, in addition to pitching six innings allowing six runs - two earned - on eight hits and striking out two to absorb the loss.
North Union (17-5) plays host to Central Springs in a 6 p.m. game on Thursday in Swea City.
ELC 021 000 1 - 4 7 1
NU 140 010 x - 6 8 2
Elizabeth Brashear (LP) and Caitlyn Clayton. Peyton Oleson (WP) and Autumn Boland.
LOB-NU 5; ELC 5. 2B-Rachel Bates (ELC), Sarah Schacherer (ELC) and Peyton Oleson (NU). HR-Dena Looft (NU). SAC-Bailey Fredricksen (ELC) and Anna Ingalls (NU).
West Bend-Mallard 6, 1, North Union 0, 0 - The Wolverines swept the Warriors during doubleheader baseball action on Monday in Bancroft.
Jesse Zinnel pitched seven innings of three-hit baseball to lead the Wolverines to a Game 1 6-0 win.
Zinnel struck out 11 and walked just two in his winning efforts from the mound, in addition to smacking a double from the batter's box.
Colin Runksmeier did the pitching for the Warriors, allowing six runs - four earned - on seven hits, striking out three and walking two to absorb the loss.
Cole Banwart went 2-for-3 from the plate to add to the Wolverines' five-run fourth inning rally, including smacking a two-run double.
Spencer Ricke, Alex Krantz and Parker Oleson each had a hit in the game for the Warriors.
Jason Zinnel then outdid Jesse Zinnel's Game 1 effort, pitching a no-hit 1-0 gem to lead the Wolverines past the Warriors.
Jason Zinnel struck out 12 and walked two in his effort.
Jesse Zinnel provided the Warriors their lone run of the game, blasting a home run.
Corey Vaske only allowed one run on three hits and struck out four, taking the loss.
Cody Runksmeier and Logan Hellman each drew a walk to get on base for the Warriors.
North Union (8-10) plays host to Central Springs in a 5:30 p.m. game on Thursday in Bancroft.