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Ankrom delivers walk-off hit

July 24, 2013
By JOSH MEYER sports@messengernews.net

Jennifer Ankrom picked a perfect time to find her way into the hit column Tuesday.

In a Class 3A state quarterfinal at Rogers Sports Complex, Ankrom delivered a walk-off RBI double, lifting 14th-ranked New Hampton (28-9 overall) to a 4-3 upset over No. 3 Mid-Prairie.

Ankrom, a senior and No. 3 hitter, launched a deep two-out shot that narrowly eluded the glove of Golden Hawks' left fielder Michelle Erwin near the 200-foot sign down the line, allowing Raelyn Webster to race home with the decisive run.

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"We've always been very good at rallying with two outs," said Ankrom, who came into state with the sixth-highest 3A batting average at .523. "I thought maybe it was gone at first, but the fence is really high. I was kind of in shock I guess. I didn't know what to think."

No. 11 Clarke (27-9) now awaits the Chickasaws in a 3A semifinal Thursday at 3:30 p.m. on Diamond 2. The Lady Indians stunned fourth-ranked East Marshall by a 6-3 count.

Jessica Crooks and Karly Fitzgerald each went 2-for-2 at the plate for New Hampton, which extended its winning streak to 15 straight games. Fitzgerald notched three RBI, while Crooks crossed the dish once.

Fact Box

New Hampton 4,

Mid-Prairie 3

Mid-Prairie 000 000 3-3 6 1

New Hampton 102 000 1-4 7 0

Olivia Lugar (L, 15-7; 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and Erika Murphy; Jessica Crooks (W, 21-7; 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) and Jackie Whitman. 2B-NH: Raelyn Webster, Jennifer Ankrom, Karly Fitzgerald. 3B-M-P: Maddie Kaalberg. CS-M-P: Mallory McArtor; NH: Webster. MH-M-P: McCartor (2), Michelle Erwin (2); NH: Crooks (2), Fitzgerald (2). RBI-M-P: Erwin (2), Lugar; NH: Fitzgerald (3), Ankrom. LOB-M-P 5; NH 6.

Crooks (21-7) also went the distance in the circle, scattering six hits and three earned runs. She walked three and fanned two. Crooks actually fired a no-hitter for the first 5 1/3 innings until Erwin roped a pinch-hit single to right-center field.

After building a 3-0 lead in the third, the Chickasaws saw Mid-Prairie (30-11) rally late with a three-spot in the seventh.

"People probably didn't expect much out of the Chickasaws this year with our two pitchers not having much experience, but Jessica and Jamie (Jackson) have both really stepped up," NH head coach Jack Seelhammer said. "(Ankrom) has been there all year for us, and I felt pretty good when the ball left the bat.

"(The Golden Hawks) had all the momentum, but we always tell our girls to believe in themselves and believe in the team. If the girls keep playing the way they have been, we've got a great shot Thursday, too."

Mallory McArtor and Erwin collected two hits apiece for Mid-Prairie, which is making its eighth-ever state appearance and seventh in the past nine years. Erwin added a pair of RBI.

Looking to rebound, Mid-Prairie will face East Marshall (28-6) in 3A consolation action Wednesday at 10 a.m. on Diamond 2.