Hard-throwing Spirit Lake righthander Katie Brown, a Storm Lake native, yielded three bunt singles and a bloop hit to right here Monday night in shutting down the Storm Lake High softball team 5-0 in a Region Final game.
Spirit Lake, 45-4 on the season, advanced to next week's Class 3A state tourney in Fort Dodge.
The Tornadoes' season ended with a steller 36-13 record.
Offensively, Spirit Lake got all it needed in the top of the second inning, when leadoff hitter Rachel Gehrking blasted a two-run homer just over the fence in dead-center field off Storm Lake ace Trish Halder.
Earlier in the inning, Halder had allowed a leadoff single by eighth place hitter Rochelle Key.
The Indians added three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Emily Boettcher and a clutch two-run double by Tracy Smolk.
Brown, meanwhile, was in control throughout most of the game, save for early in the game in the second and third innings.
In the second, Storm Lake outfielder Jess Overturf reached via a nifty bunt single and moved to second base on a groundout.
But Brown struck out Storm Lake eighth-grader Amanda Proczak to end the threat with the Indians still leading just 2-0.
The Tornadoes again threatened in the third. Morgan Darrow drew a leadoff walk and was sacrificed via a bunt to second by Katie Overturf.
After Halder popped out to the catcher, senior Molly Daniels beat out a bunt single and the Tornadoes had runners on first and third.
But Brown toughened again, coaxing Mel Fisher to pop out to short to end the threat with the Indians still leading 2-0.
Brown cruised the rest of the way, retiring Storm Lake in order in the fourth and fifth innings, including striking out the side via all called third strikes in the fifth.
Daniels, the only Storm Lake player with more than one hit, had a another one-out bunt single in the bottom of the sixth but the Tornadoes left her stranded at first.
In the bottom of the seventh, Proczak lifted a bloop single to right field, the Tornadoes' only hit to the outfield all night. Brown struck out Darrow to end the game.
Gehrking led the Spirit Lake offense by going 3 for 4 with a two-run homer and two RBI. Brown struck out eight and walked just one.
Meanwhile, things went better for the Tornadoes in the region semis at home Saturday night when they defeated Bishop Heelan 2-1 in a classic playoff matchup.
Halder was a standout on the mound, gaining her 19th win of the season by allowing just three Heelan hits. She walked just one and struck out six.
"Great pitching and great defense was the difference for us," said Stolzfus.
Heelan touched Halder for a run in the top of the fifth but the Tornadoes tied it in the bottom half. Anna Paulsen singled to lead off the inning after a nice sacrifice bunt by Katie Overturf, the Heelan catcher threw wild to first, allowing Paulsen to score.
The Tornadoes got the gamewinner in the bottom of the sixth.
Daniels led off with a single, stole second, then scored when sophomore Ty Zimmerman laced a line drive just to the right of second base.
Halder retired Bishop-Heelan in order in the bottom of the seventh as Storm Lake advanced to the region finals. Each team finished with three hits.