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Spartans move into regional final four

Published: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 12:58 p.m. CDT

FORT DODGE — Southwestern’s softball team jumped into the final four at the Region XI Division II tournament Monday.

With the tournament delayed by inclement weather and field conditions, the first round was single-elimination. The third-seeded Spartans responded in a big way, routing sixth-seeded Ellsworth, 11-2 in six innings.

Brooke Wolf hit a two-run walk-off homer in the sixth inning to end the game on the eight-run mercy rule. Danyielle Barger also clubbed a solo homer in the sixth.

Ashley Brandt, the conference’s leading hitter, went 2-for-4 and scored two runs for the Spartans (23-15). Tessa Otto went 3-4 and Hannah Sneed was 3-3.

Leah Kipfer had her best pitching performance since breaking her left ankle, yielding only three hits and no walks in six innings. She fanned six.

“Kipfer pitched excellent,” coach Lindsay Stukmpff said. “She’ll pitch as long as she can go (today) against NIACC.”

The Spartans face NIACC in an elimination game at noon today after falling 9-1 to second-seeded DMACC Monday night. Courtney Wagner took the loss, tagged for nine hits with seven walks. She struck out three.

“Courtney got behind on the count too much,” Stumpff said. “(Mari) Silliman pitched for DMACC and we only got one hit, a home run by Sneed in the fifth inning.”

DMACC faces top-seeded Kirkwood in the other noon game today. Neither has lost yet. If SWCC beats NIACC at noon, they would take on the loser of DMACC vs. Kirkwood at 2 p.m. in elimination play. The survivors continue on playing at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. if needed to determine the regional champion.

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