FORT DODGE — West Burlington is in the Class 2A state softball final, with a lineup that features four girls that haven’t experienced a whiff of high school.
Full of youth and full of speed, the fifth-ranked Falcons put constant pressure on Mid-Prairie in an 8-3 semifinal victory Thursday evening at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“They’ve been a great addition to our team,” said Jamie Johnson, a junior who typified the Falcons’ quickness with a couple of infield hits.
West Burlington (34-6) has six eighth-graders on its roster. Four of them start, including Riley Hale and Kori Mesecher, who bat 1 and 2 in the lineup.
Mesecher hit a solo inside-the-park home run in the top of the first inning, then the Falcons scored six times in the fifth inning to break it open.
The Falcons face No. 11 Iowa City Regina for the 2A championship at 5 p.m. Friday. The Regals (30-12) knocked off No. 2 Bondurant-Farrar, 5-4, Thursday.
“They did a nice job of putting the ball in play and keeping pressure on us,” said Mid-Prairie Coach Justin Lutjen. “We didn’t play well today; let’s just hope we bounce back (Friday).”
The Golden Hawks (24-19) meet Bondurant-Farrar (35-6) in the third-place game at 4 p.m.
Mid-Prairie rallied from a 4-0 deficit with five seventh-inning runs to beat No. 1 Durant in a regional final, then scored in the bottom of the seventh in a state-quarterfinal win over Nodaway Valley. But there was no magic Thursday.
“The postseason has been so exciting, and part of the reason is that we’ve kept getting out of jams, out of trouble,” Lutjen said. “Today, we dug too deep of a hole.”
The Golden Hawks committed five errors.
Johnson’s two-run infield single highlighted the Falcons’ six-run explosion in the fifth, an onslaught that turned a 2-1 nailbiter into an 8-1 rout.
Emmie Leinen and Kaitlin Kaalberg had two hits apiece for the Golden Hawks.
AT FORT DODGE
West Burlington 100 160 0 – 8 11 2
Mid-Prairie 010 020 0 – 3 8 5
Kaitlyn Caston (W) and Kelci Hill. Olivia Lugar (L), Felicia Schulty (5) and Erika Murphy. HR — WB: Kori Mesecher.