The Normal Community High School softball team's quest to repeat as state champion began with a 2-0 victory over Ottawa in the Class 4A Ottawa Regional semifinal on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Ironmen (27-3) scored single tallies in the second and third and won the game despite having two hits.
"We knew it would be tough and it was," NCHS Bob Grimes coach said. "We're glad we came out on top. I'm just glad we won."
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Megan Nonnemacher earned the victory as she had 10 strikeouts and no walks with four hits. Jessi Smith and Lisa White each had run-scoring singles.
"We had timely hitting, which helped a lot," Grimes said.