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FAIRBURY -- Olympia High School's softball team finally got some breathing room Saturday when a three-run sixth inning produced a 5-0 lead.

Moments later, Prairie Central had the top-seeded Spartans gasping for air in the Class 2A Prairie Central Regional championship game.

Aided by two Olympia errors, the third-seeded Hawks scored three times in the top of the seventh and had runners at second and third when the game ended.

The 5-3 victory advanced the Spartans (29-3) to Wednesday's 7 p.m. Rantoul Sectional semifinal against Bismarck-Henning.

"We just had to push through it," Olympia coach Tricia Gale said. "They're a good team. They'll never stop.

"We have to make sure that from now on we're making the simple plays that we're supposed to be making."

One run scored on an error before Liz Shafer's two-run double made it 5-3. Dani Williams (16-1) got the final out on a fly ball to right field.

Prairie Central had runners on base in every inning against Williams, stranding 10.

"You know if runners are on you just have to bear down and do what you know how to do," said the senior left-hander, who allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out five.

"I tried to mix it up the best I could. Hitting my spots was the main thing."

Olympia's three-run sixth was highlighted by a two-run double from junior Alissa Cross. It came on a 1-0 pitch from Brooke Bachtold.

"They always tell us to look for your pitch and drive that pitch. I was looking inside and that's where it was," said Cross, who also had an RBI single in the fourth.

"It was one of those things where it hit the sweet spot and you can feel it right away."

Janelle Canopy followed with a run-scoring double. Olympia then had to hang on for its second win over the Hawks this season.

The other was an 8-5 decision in which Prairie Central loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh.

"It's a little déjà vu," said Hawks' coach Luke Krippel. "I told the girls we were just one hit away all day. I thought we were seeing her (Williams) well and having good at bats.

"We got under a couple of pitches that we just missed by a quarter of an inch. But I was very proud of our girls for the way they battled."

Sam Ropp and Stephanie Wessels had two hits each for Prairie Central.

Kelsey Schmidt had three of Olympia's 10 hits. Williams and Cross added two apiece.


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