LETTS — The East Marshall High School softball team has a history of competing in the state tournament, but Monday night Louisa-Muscatine's Falcons made history for themselves.

Isabelle True and Hailey Sanders combined for a two-hit shutout and lifted the third-ranked Falcons to a 3-0 victory over No. 13 East Marshall in the Class 2A regional championship game at Letts.

Louisa-Muscatine now heads into uncharted territory — next week's state tournament at Fort Dodge.

It will be the Falcons' first-ever appearance. East Marshall, which has played in five state tournaments, ended its season at 26-8.

"I'm really happy to be going to state," L-M second-year coach Bryan Butler said. "It feels awesome. It's a big step for our program." 

Just five years ago, Louisa-Muscatine finished the season at 1-22. Monday's win put the Falcons at 35-6 this year, and they're not done.

Louisa-Muscatine enters the state tournament as the top seed and will play eighth-seeded Wilton (25-15) in Monday's 3 p.m. first round.

"It feels amazing," starting and winning pitcher True (17-3) said. "There was the pressure of going to the state tournament or not going to state, but really there was no pressure. It was more exciting than pressure."

Her catcher, Katie Hearn, said, "It's hard to explain it. It's very, very exciting."

True pitched the first five innings and gave up one hit and a walk while striking out seven. Sanders also surrendered a hit and a base on balls while striking out five Mustangs in two innings.

The catcher had the best view of their performances.

"They're amazing," Hearn said. "I can always count on them to shut anyone's offense down."

Butler started the season using both pitchers in the same game, "then we had injuries," he said. "We had to pitch Kylee Sanders too." Kylee Sanders posted a 9-1 record with a 1.23 earned run average in 57 innings. True entered Monday's game with a 1.46 ERA and Hailey Sanders (8-2) was at 1.27.

True and Hailey Sanders "complement each other," Butler said. "We decided we'd make a switch tonight."

Louisa-Muscatine scored all it needed in the first inning. Kylee Sanders, a .512 hitter, led off with a walk and stole second base. An out later, she scampered home on Katie Koppe's single to right center.

The Falcons added the insurance runs in the third. Kylee Sanders again led off and doubled to left. McKenna Hohenadel bunt-singled her to third and Koppe was hit by a Kodie Hoskey pitch to load the bases. Kylee Sanders scored on a wild pitch and Hohenadel advanced to third. Hohenadel scored on Hailey Sanders' sacrifice fly to center.

East Marshall got its first hit in the third when No. 9 hitter Madison Duncan singled to left. An outfield error got Duncan to second and she took third on a fielder's choice. She was abandoned at third when Reagan McIlrath popped up to shortstop Kylee Sanders to end the inning.

The Mustangs wouldn't get another runner past first base.

Kylee Sanders and Koppe both went 2-for-2 to lead the hitters.

"We were going to take what we could get," Butler said. "Isabella and Hailey pitched a great game."

East Marshall's leading hitter with a .433 average, Madison Farrington, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Two other Mustang .400 hitters, Hannah Birks and Ellen Hungerford, also were silenced.

The Mustangs' Maria Rasmusson singled with two outs in the sixth inning, but Hailey Sanders caught Farrington looking at a third strike to end the inning.

"We scouted them," Butler said. "They're a good team. We did our homework."

"We got a scouting report," True said, "but we never heard about them until tonight. It feels amazing."

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WP — Isabella True (17-3). LP — Kodie Hoskey (17-6). Two or more hits — Louisa-Muscatine: Kylee Sanders 2-2, Katie Koppe 2-2. 2B — Madison Duncan (EM), K Sanders. RBI — Hailey Sanders (LM).

Records — East Marshall 26-8, Louisa-Muscatine 35-6.