The Linn-Mar softball team played a tough opening round in the Class 5A, Region 6 semifinal Saturday, July 10, against conference foe, the Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawk at Prairie. The teams were evenly matched and entered the softball postseason with Prairie ranked third and Linn-Mar ranked fourth in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
It was another closely contested match with Prairie coming away with a 2-1 win in extra innings. All three games played between the two foes this year were decided by one run.
The Lions scored in the top of the second inning with a double from ninth-grader Kaylece Morgan, who plated sophomore Grace McCarty for the first run. The Hawks tied it up in the bottom of the third inning and the score remained tied 1-1 through seven innings of regulation play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the action heated up when a Prairie runner was caught in a pickle between first and second bases. Linn-Mar senior Samantha Gangestad, was playing first base and collided with the Prairie runner trying to dive back to first base. The collision between Gangestad and the Prairie runner resulted in the Prairie player being called safe and replaced by a courtesy runner. Gangsted, however, had to be assisted by her coaches to walk off the field and was unable to return to play.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Lions had three hitters go up to bat and all three were retired in batting order. Last ups was to Prairie’s advantage. In the bottom of the inning, the Hawks had a double, a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to third, and a single that scored the runner on third to seal the win.
The Lions wrap up their season with a 20-10 Mississippi Valley Conference record and a 25-12 overall record.