Exira-EHK softball coach Jodee Dixon talks with the team following Friday night’s 9-2 regional loss vs. Fort Dodge St. Edmond at Fonda. (Photos by Mike Oeffner) FONDA -- Spartan junior Sophia Peppers beats the tag of St. Edmond’s Erin Flattery (30) for a triple during the sixth inning of Friday’s regional semifinal game.

Spartans ousted, 9-2, by Gael softball team on the rise

Exira -EHK held to four hits, finishes 16-11

 FONDA (July 7) -- Talk about peaking at the right time.
 The St. Edmond softball team entered postseason play last week with a record of 9-17 and defeats in six of its last seven games. Five nights and three wins later, the Gaels are one step away from the state tournament.
 Exira-Elk Horn-Kimballton became St. Edmond’s latest victim on Friday night, allowing nine unanswered runs during a four-inning span and losing 9-2 in a Class 1-A regional semifinal game at Fonda.
 The 12-17 Gaels forced a 1-1 tie with the help of three Spartan errors in the second inning, then busted loose for eight runs on 11 hits during the third, fourth and fifth to set up a Region 3 final at unranked Montezuma (18-12) on Monday night.
 Exira-EHK, which fell one win shy of qualifying for its fifth regional final in six years, was outhit 13-4 and committed seven errors in the contest, finishing with an overall record of 16-11.
 Most of the Gaels’ run production wasn’t the result of errors, but an aggressive, first-pitch swinging attack that resulted in a mid-game frenzy of hard-hit balls against Spartan senior pitcher Maggie Rasmussen.
 “This team hit Maggie a whole lot harder than either Ankeny or Bishop Heelan,” said E-EHK coach Jodee Dixon, referring to the only other teams to beat her squad since June 3. “These guys are very well-coached and they were on that first pitch."

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