FORT DODGE — A 2-0 regional loss to eventual state runner-up Iowa City Regina kept North Linn out of the Class 2A state softball tournament a year ago.
This season, the youthful Lynx refused to be denied.
Thursday night in Fort Dodge, top-ranked North Linn capped a triumphant state tournament debut with a 3-0 victory over Alta-Aurelia in the championship game.
Junior pitcher Abby Flanagan threw a four-hitter and struck out a 2A tournament record 16 batters while walking just two. She took a 26-2 record, 0.58 earned-run average and 280 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings into the title game.
The Lynx (42-4), with just one senior on their roster, made the most of four hits, scoring twice in the second inning and once in the sixth. Natalie Gallery had two hits and knocked in a run, as did Jill Smith and Jenna Lemley.
Alta-Aurelia, ranked 13th in the final 2A poll, finished 22-10.
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North Linn 3, Alta-Aurelia 0
Alta-Aurelia 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
North Linn 020 001 x — 3 4 0
WP — Abby Flanagan. LP — Abby Kraemer. 2B — Sierra Hill (AA), Natalie Gallery (NL).
Shea Peterson (Alta-Aurelia), Hannah Bridgewater (North Linn), Denali Loecker (Ogden), Kodie Hoskey (East Marshall), Alexa Anderson (Mount Ayr), Reagan McIlrath (East Marshall), Sam Stewart (Mount Ayr), Kaitlyn Sommerfelt (North Linn), Jessica Larson (Alta-Aurelia), Abby Kraemer (Alta-Aurelia), Abby Flanagan (North Linn), captain.