Ingalls hurls Warriors into final

SWEA CITY – North Union ace right-hander Allie Ingalls proved nearly perfect inside the pitcher’s chalked circle during Friday night’s Iowa Class 2A, Region 2 softball semifinal.

The hard-throwing Ingalls hurled a no-hit shutout behind a six-strikeout performance to propel the No. 1-ranked Warriors to a 10-0, five-inning rout over the West Hancock Eagles in Swea City.

North Union (33-2) advances to face Ridge View – an 8-0 winner over Alta-Aurelia – for the regional championship game at 7 p.m. Monday night in Pocahontas, Iowa.

West Hancock ended its season with a 16-11 record.

“We just chipped away, chipped away and chipped away on offense, getting a run here and a couple more there,” Warrior head coach Art Ingalls said in reference to his batting order’s 12-hit performance.

“The pitching wasn’t too bad,” Art Ingalls said with a smile in reference to his senior daughter’s near-perfect game. “Pitching got it done tonight.”

Allie Ingalls, who will play softball for Iowa Central Community College next season, faced only 16 West Hancock batters – one over the five-frame minimum – to earn the complete-game victory to improve to 22-1 on the season.

In fact, Ingalls retired the first eight Eagle hitters in a row before No. 9 batter Bailey Eisenman’s drifting fly ball near the right-field line was dropped. The Warriors’ ace hurler then followed the error by recording seven straight outs to seal the no-hit shutout.

While Ingalls was silencing the West Hancock bats, North Union’s potent offense combined a dozen hits with six West Hancock miscues to exit the Swea City ballpark early via the 10-run rule.

The Warriors scratched out a solo run in the top of the first inning after loading the bases behind consecutive singles by Ingalls, Cheyanne Boland and Autumn Boland with no outs. Dena Looft’s one-out sacrifice fly to center plated courtesy runner Kjarsten Mullen, who was running for Cheyanne Boland.

Sara Johnson, who reached three times via two hits and an error, served as North Union’s second-inning offensive catalyst. Johnson hammered a leadoff single to left before circling the bases when Jasmine Clausen’s bunt hit was thrown away twice.

Clausen remained at third base when Peyton Oleson was plunked by a Mallory Backer delivery before both Warrior runners circled the bases when Ingalls’ grounder skidded under the Eagle shortstop’s glove and into left field.

Johnson later reached on a one-out error during the top of the third, wheeled to third on Clausen’s second hit of the game and crossed the plate for the second of three times on Oleson’s RBI fielder’s choice for a 5-0 edge.

North Union then doubled its advantage by combining four hits and another West Hancock miscue into five fourth-inning runs.

Cheyanne Boland reached on an error before courtesy runner Kyarsten Mullen motored to second on Autumn Boland’s single to left.

Dena Looft drew a one-out walk to load the bases before Sarah Rolling lofted a sky-high RBI single into shallow right to bring home Mullen.

Autumn Boland then was awarded home on Becker’s illegal pitch before pinch runner Alexis Valvick scored on Johnson’s RBI single.

Clausen chipped in a run-scoring fielder’s choice before Oleson generated her second RBI of the game via a single to right to extend the Warriors’ margin to 10-0.

Cheyanne Boland, Autumn Boland, Johnson and Clausen each collected two hits to top North Union’s offensive attack, while Collete Haag added a hit.

Becker allowed 10 runs – only four earned – on 12 hits, struck out one, hit one batter and walked one batter in five innings of work to take the loss for West Hancock.

NU 131 50 – 10 12 1

WH 000 00 – 0 0 6

Allie Ingalls (WP, 22-1) and Cheyanne Boland. Mallory Becker (LP, 13-8) and Kellie Schmit.

LOB-North Union 8, West Hancock 1. SF-Dena Looft (NU).