FORT DODGE — At its best, the second-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes softball team is hard to beat.
The Fillies were nearly flawless in a 7-0, state quarterfinal victory over unranked Denison-Schleswig on Tuesday at Harlan Rogers Park.
Paige Lowary flirted with a perfect game, but settled for throwing the 48th no-hitter in state tournament history.
"It’s always great to throw a no-hitter at state," she said. "I didn’t expect that to happen, but it’s awesome."
The hard-throwing junior overpowered the Monarchs with a fastball they struggled to catch up to. She struck out 11 and retired the first 17 batter she saw in order. The only baserunner came via a two-out walk in the sixth inning, and only one ball left the infield all game.
The Fillies spotted Lowary to a five-run lead after the first inning with a patient approach at the plate and the aid of a pair of D-S errors. Lowary, Brooke Kramer and Macey Wolfe reached. Tabitha Taylor singled home the first run, and Taylor Draisey and Rachel Lowary drew bases-loaded walks. Two more runs crossed the plate on an errant throw to first base.
The Fillies drew three walks in the first, and all three came around to score. They had seven for the game.
"We were going to be patient and make (Paige Lansink) throw strikes at the beginning of the game," said DC-G coach Steve Schlafke, whose team improved to 36-5. "Between walks and some errors, we were able to put the runs on the board."
DC-G tacked on two more in the second inning. Wolfe, who singled, scored on a hit from Draisey. Taylor, who walked, scored on the third error of the game for the Monarchs (26-13).
Taylor and Raisey each finished with two hits and Wolfe scored twice.
While the Fillies were wrapping up the game on Diamond 1, Indianola and Winterset were battling on Diamond 2. Indianola prevailed 4-2, setting up a rematch of last year’s 4A championship game in which the Indians won, 1-0.
The teams will meet on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Fillies beat the Indians 3-0 in their only meeting this year, a season-opening game in Dallas Center on May 21.
"We’re not worried about what Indianola or Winterset are doing, we’ve got to play our game," Schlafke said. "And we feel if we play our game, with our offense and our defense and our pitching, that we’re going to be pretty tough to beat."
DC-G was third in 2011, and after a runner-up placing last year, the logical goal this time around would be a trip to the top of the podium.
"If people don’t know that that’s what our goal is from the last two years, then they aren’t really watching what we’re doing," Schlafke said. "That’s not cocky or arrogance. That’s what we wanted and we’ve wanted that since the end of the season last year."
DC-G won its third straight quarterfinal game, and is now 5-2 at state since 2011.