FORT DODGE, Iowa – Tournament rookie and fourth seeded Northeast has sent fifth seeded Central Springs home after a 5-4 victory here today.
The Central Springs Panthers have become a staple in the Class 2A field at the Iowa High School State Softball Tournament in Fort Dodge. The 2020 shortened season is the 6th straight and 7th in school history.
A beautiful breezy day is a hitters paradise and that showed between the Class 2A teams early.
Northeast started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a leadoff homer from junior Neveah Hildebrandt, her third of the season.
“I’ve been struggling (this season) so I was just waiting for the right pitch” – Neveah Hildebrandt
Northeast added another run and jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Central Springs would get on the board in the second with a sacrifice fly from Emma Dietrich and a double from Kaylea Fessler to tie the game at two.
In the third it was more Panthers, junior Abigayle Angell rocketed her third homer of the season – a two-run shot – giving Central Springs a 4-2 lead.
The lead wouldn’t last long, in the bottom of the fourth, following a throwing error on Central Springs, senior Audrey Morris connected on her first homer of the season knotting the game at four.
In the bottom of the seventh, Central Springs would try, but Northeast wouldn’t be denied their first state tournament win in school history. Following a crazy situation that saw the Panthers get the Rebels’ lead runner out at home, Neveah Hildebrandt smacked a single to score the winning run waiting at third.
“During the timeout, I told coach I got it, It’ll be fine,” Hidebrandt said after the game. “We didn’t just want to make it (to state), we wanted to make a statement.”
Central Springs ends their season 17-4, but the Panthers bring back everyone for a run at their 7th straight trip to Fort Dodge.