Seven-seed Durant seemed to have the upset over two-seed North Linn, but the Lynx had other plans.
North Linn rattled off a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh in a 2-1 victory over Durant. The Lynx won on a walk-off RBI single by senior Parker Brechen, advancing to the 2A semifinals.
Before the Lynx’s late-inning heroics, it was a low-scoring defensive battle at the hands of a complete pitching duel.
North Linn’s Swiss Army knife Austin Hilmer did a bit of everything, but he excelled on the mound. The senior pitched all seven innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six. After Durant scored in the top of the first, Hilmer held the Wildcats scoreless.
On the flip side, Wildcat arm Nate Dierickx put together an excellent start as well. He pitched 6.2 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits and seven strikeouts. Dierickx had the Lynx (the best batting team in 2A) at bay until the final inning.
At one point, though, it appeared any North Linn momentum fizzeled out. Arguably one of the biggest plays of the game came on a momentum-shifting double play in the bottom of the fifth inning when Durant faced a runner on third with just one out. Hilmer reached third base on a passed ball, but when faced with a fielder’s choice, Durant completed the double play, tagging Hilmer out at home and Bechen at third.
North Linn’s resiliency showed, though, as the Lynx came through in the clutch just two innings later.
North Linn will face the winner of Dike-New Hartford and Des Moines Christian on Thursday in the 2A semifinals.