(Fort Dodge) -- Newell-Fonda scored seven straight runs and took a 7-3 victory over Southeast Warren in a Class 1A state softball semifinal on Wednesday.
The Warhawks (29-3) — making their first state semifinal appearance in 53 years — put the top-ranked Mustangs (37-5) on their heels in the first. Josie Hartman ripped a double down the third-base line and then scored on a bunt single and error from Brooklynn Page.
“We started exactly how we wanted to start off,” Southeast Warren coach Cody Reynolds said. “We got up on them in the first inning and put the pressure on them. Then we turn around on defense and hold them. We had the momentum going our way, which is what we wanted to establish right from the start.”
“We really knew that we wanted to get on base and start it going,” Hartman said. “My job as a lead off is to get it started, and that’s what I did.”
Southeast Warren advanced Page to third, but they were unable to add to their early lead. That proved to be the story the rest of the way against Newell-Fonda freshman pitcher Kierra Jungers, who stranded seven runners throughout the game.
“We got them on, but we weren’t very disinclined at the plate,” Reynolds said. “We got away a little bit — even in the first inning — from how we’ve been playing ball all season long. We weren’t able to put a whole game together.”
As Jungers continued to keep the Pride of Iowa Conference’s Warhawks off the board, the Mustangs put together rallies in the second, third and fourth, scoring one, two and four, respectively, off Southeast Warren pitcher Alivia Ruble.
In the second, the Mustangs scored on a hit, a sac bunt and a line drive out to right. In the third, they had three hits and took advantage of an error and a bases-loaded walk. Newell-Fonda added two hits and reached on a dropped third strike and error in the fourth.
“Newell-Fonda is a good team,” Reynolds said. “We had a good plan coming into this thing. We knew they had speed, and we knew we had to attack the ball and make plays defensively. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”
The Warhawks put two runs across of their own in the final at bat, getting singles from Emma King and Kaylee Bauer before Bre Nolte smashed a two-out two-run double. Nolte had two of Southeast Warren’s nine hits while seven others finished with one hit apiece.
“We’ve hit up and down the lineup all season long,” Reynolds said. “(Jungers) is a good pitcher, and we got a little it undisciplined. We got runners on, but we just didn’t capitalize today.”
Southeast Warren falls into Thursday’s third-place game at 3:30 while Newell-Fonda advances to the 1A state championship. View full video interviews with Coach Reynolds and Hartman below.