UNDERWOOD, Iowa — Streaking Logan-Magnolia came to town expecting to produce offensively.
“Our goal was to score every inning,” coach Trent Kuhl said. “And I think we pretty much did.”
The Panthers (19-7), winners of nine straight and 13 of 14, had No. 12 Underwood on the ropes in nearly every inning of Friday's Class 2-A regional semifinal.
Logan-Magnolia scored in each of the first five frames of its 9-1 victory, eliminating one Western Iowa Conference co-champion to earn the right to play the other. The Panthers will face No. 2 Treynor, a 7-2 winner against Tri-Center on Friday, at 7 p.m. Monday at Council Bluffs Lewis Central for a state tournament berth.
Logan-Magnolia was batting in the bottom of the sixth with the player at the plate representing the run that would've ended the semifinal early via the run rule. Kuhl didn't expect that.
“We've been a battling team all year. The thing my team has, up and down the lineup, is any of them can produce,” Kuhl said. “We've got a good group of girls.”
Abby Straight tripled, singled and doubled in her first three at-bats to lead the Panthers' 12-hit attack. She was on base four times and scored three runs as eight of the nine players in the lineup recorded at least one hit.
“We've been playing really well together,” said Straight, a freshman who was also the winning pitcher. “We're just a really good team. We all feed off each other.”
Straight gave up a run in the first, but limited the Eagles (23-9) to six hits and walked two. Underwood had consecutive hits in the fifth and sixth innings. There were already two outs on both occasions, however, and Straight retired the next hitter to end any threat.
The Eagles made five errors, including three in a decisive four-run fifth. It was rough finish for Underwood, which had entered the postseason on a six-game winning streak.
“Usually, it seems like we're the team that's hitting like that,” Eagles coach Skip Yates said. “But, boy, they came with their bats loaded tonight. It was tough. It was tough on the kids after the good season they had like that.”
Underwood had beaten the Panthers 8-6 in the second game of the season. Logan-Magnolia avenged the loss Friday, and it looks to do the same against Treynor.
The Cardinals (26-5) edged the Panthers 6-4 in Logan in early June. Kuhl said he told his players that night that they should feel no postseason pressure when facing the WIC teams.
“I've read the paper. Everyone's been picking Underwood and Treynor in the finals. They've been ranked,” he said. “You know what? They're more afraid of playing us than we are them. We're the underdog. We don't have anything to lose. They're No. 2. They're supposed to win.”
Underwood (23-9) ........................... 100 000 0—1 6 5
Logan-Magnolia (19-7) ........................... 111 240 x—9 12 0
W: Straight, 17-7. L: Dilts, 18-7. 2B: LM, Straight. 3B: LM, Straight.