FORT DODGE, Ia. — Southeast Polk’s Kali Lange crossed home plate with the game-winning run and braced for impact.
And joyfully so.
Lange and her team rallied to score both runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to shock defending state champ Dowling Catholic 2-1 Thursday in a Class 5-A semifinal.
The senior singled in the tie run and scored on Katie Burdick’s two-out single. Then she was mobbed on the field.
“I just got tackled by my teammates,” Lange said. “It was probably the greatest moment of my life.”
The game, which was pushed back due to a rain delay of nearly 3 1/2 hours, ended at nearly 11 p.m.
The Rams (30-9) will try to win the school’s first state softball title Friday. The Rams will face Johnston, which took second last year.
In a game marked by strong pitching efforts — Southeast Polk’s Cassady Knudsen allowed three hits and Dowling’s Claudia Farrell gave up four — all the runs came in the final inning. Both pitchers struck out 10.
Dowling’s Julia Bastian scored her team’s only run. She reached base on an error, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Savannah Orewiler’s groundout.
Southeast Polk’s Hannah Parker led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Grace Metts, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Lange followed with a single. After an out, Burdick singled to center field to end the game.
“We fought so hard, we didn’t want it to end yet,” Lange said.
Burdick, an academic all-stater who will study chemical engineering at Iowa State, said she wanted to play in the title game with her teammates.
“We’ve been playing together since we were pretty much 8 years old,” Burdick said.
Dowling fell to 29-9 and moved on to the third-place game.