SPIRIT LAKE - Lakes Conference champions Spirit Lake didn't have any easy time in their Class 3A first-round game on Tuesday.
Sheldon gave the Indians all the hosts could handle. Trailing 9-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, the Orabs cut the deficit to one and had the tying run on first base. But after a hit by Sheldon's Kati Kneifl, courtesy runner Alyssa Kavanagh tried to reach third base on the play. Spirit Lake center fielder Kayla Herrig grabbed the loose ball and threw to third baseman Maddie Richter to get the final out.
The 9-8 victory allowed the Indians (21-8) to advance to Friday's game against Class 3A No. 7 Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (26-2). The Nighthawks defeated Estherville Lincoln Central 1-0 on Tuesday.
Spirit Lake and Sheldon's seesaw battle featured a typical playoff answer. The Orabs started with a two-home run in the first inning, but Spirit Lake answered with three in the top of the second. A two-run home run by Bailee Newman in the fourth inning put Spirit Lake up 5-2, but the Orabs scored three in the bottom of the fifth, thanks in part to Indian errors.
Spirit Lake answered immediately with four runs in the top of the sixth inning, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Newman earned the win as she gave up eight runs (two earned) on nine hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
The Indians finished with 10 hits with Mackenzie Thate going 2-3 with two doubles and a pair of RBIs. Carly Ites was 2-3 with a double and two RBIs and Richter also was 2-3 with an RBI. Newman was 2-5 with the home run and two RBIs. Whitlee Reitz was 1-3 and Kayla Herrig was 1-4 with an RBI.