FORT DODGE - There were no freshman jitters for Ballard’s Isabell Hobbs when the No. 4 Bombers took on No. 9 Carlisle in the Class 4A state quarterfinals Tuesday at Fort Dodge.
Hobbs homered, tripled and drove in six runs to lead Ballard to a stunning 11-5 rout of the Wildcats on the Buena Vista Diamond at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“I knew today I had to do what was necessary for the team to be successful,” Hobbs said. “When I stepped into that box, I wasn’t thinking about hitting it out the the park, I was thinking about hitting it hard and making something happen for my teammates to score.”
Hobbs hit a two-run triple in the first inning to get the ball rolling. She immediately started clapping in celebration after the play as the Bombers knew they were in for a big night.
Maggie Larson added an RBI double to put Ballard up 3-0 after the inning.
In the second inning Hobbs struck again, this time with a 3-run home run as Ballard plated four runs in the inning.
“It felt nice,” Hobbs said of her long ball. “Lately I’ve been struggling with my self-confidence at the plate. To come out and do that was really big for me.”
Ballard eventually pushed its lead to 10-0 going into the top of the fifth. The dominant start was due to extreme confidence and great preparation.
“That’s how we wanted to start,” Ballard catcher Skylar Rigby said. “We came out and did what we wanted to do. We studied them quite a bit and it ended up working out for us.”
But Carlisle didn’t roll over.
Taylor Dubois doubled and scored on an Agatha Beier hit in the bottom of the fifth to keep Carlisle alive. Natalie McCormick added a solo homer for Carlisle in the top of the sixth.
Ballard countered with a run in the bottom of the sixth when Abby Carlin doubled in Rachel Newell. But Carlisle came back with three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make Ballard sweat it out.
Delaney Schnathorst singled in a run and Alyvia Dubois added a two-run double for the Wildcats. Carlisle still had a runner on second when Meredith Hoffman singled with two outs, but Ballard caught her rounding first for the final out.
“We knew they were going to hit me at the end, because after you get two times through the order, the hitter gets a lot more comfortable with the pitching,” Carlin said. “We knew we had to start off strong and get a bunch of runs up on the board to give us a little cushion for later on in the game.”
Ballard improved to 34-5 and Carlisle dropped to 26-15. It was Ballard’s third victory in as many tries this season - a very rare feat against a Jim Flaws-coached team.
“It’s always hard to beat a them three times in a row,” Carlin said. “But it’s really exciting.”
Ballard finished with an amazing 19 hits. Newell was 4-for-4 with three runs, Rigby was 3-for-5 with two doubles, runs and RBI apiece and Hannah Elliott went 3-for-4 with a double and run.
Carlin gave up just one earned run on 11 hits with six strikeouts and no walks. Sara Scott surrendered four earned runs on 10 hits with one walk in 3 ⅔ innings as the losing Carlisle pitcher.
Beier ended up 3-for-4 with an RBI and Taylor Dubois ended up with a double and two runs to pace Carlisle on offense.
Next up for Ballard is a date with No. 14 Charles City (33-6). The Comets upset No. 3 Fairfield in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, 5-4.
“We feel really good about it,” Rigby said. “I think that we’re going to go into it strong, do what we need to do and get it done.”
Ballard’s semifinal game with Charles City will take place at 1:30 p.m. Thursday back on Diamond 2 at the Rogers Athletic Complex.
Ballard 11, Carlisle 5
C 000 011 3 - 5 11 2
B 341 201 X - 11 19 4
C: Sara Scott, Molly Hoekstra (2), Scott (4) and Agatha Beier.
B: Abby Carlin and Skylar Rigby.
2B: C - Alyvia Dubois 2, Taylor Dubois. B - Rigby 2, Carlin, Maggie Larson, Hannah Elliott.
3B: B - Isabell Hobbs.
HR: C - Natalie McCormick. B - Hobbs.