WILTON — The Northeast softball team has lofty goals for this summer.
And to reach them, the Rebels might have to face some tense moments.
They are getting some good practice early.
In back-to-back road games, Thursday and Friday, Northeast — ranked seventh in Class 2A — found itself locked in a one-run game against a ranked foe.
Thursday night, the Rebels saw a late comeback attempt come up a run short against 3A No. 9 Anamosa.
A day later, it was Northeast hanging on as another squad rallied in the seventh.
Down 6-1, 2A No. 12 Wilton led off the final inning with three straight hits. After two more hits and a groundout, the Beavers had the tying run on third with two outs.
Rebels pitcher Madison Kluever made sure she stayed there, earning the final out of Northeast’s 6-5 victory by strikeout.
The Rebels jumped on their hosts, plating two runs in the opening inning — Neveah Hildebrandt singled and scored on Bree Mangelsen’s hit, while Claire Abbott reached on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly — and then tacking on four more in the third.
Northeast had three hits during the frame, including a double by Alexis Ehlers and a two-run single by Valerie Spooner — and feasted on Wilton miscues, turning both an error and a hit batsman into runs.
The Beavers put runners in scoring position in the fourth and sixth innings, but did not get to Kluever until the seventh, but the eighth-grader buckled down and stamped out the rally before Wilton could tie things at six. Kluever finished with four strikeouts.
Mangelsen was the only Rebel with multiple hits (two), but seven different players had one hit. Abbott scored twice, while Spooner drove in two.
Less than 24 hours earlier, it was Northeast attempting to rally late.
Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, the Rebels seized the momentum as Kluever slugged a home run to make it a one-run contest with the top of the Northeast order coming up.
Anamosa, though, bounced back from Kluever’s homer, inducing a pair of fly-balls to end the game.
The Rebels had six hits — Kluever’s home run, plus singles for Hildebrandt, Abbott (twice), Mangelsen and Morris — and plated their first run in the third when Mangelsen drove in Hildebrandt with a sacrifice fly.
Kluever only allowed three hits and matched it with three strikeouts. Anamosa, though, put its leadoff hitter on second in both innings its scored — thanks to a double in the first and an error in the fifth — and turned both quick starts into three runs.
The Rebels opened their week with a non-conference visit to Maquoketa Tuesday.
After early fireworks — the two teams combined for eight runs in the first two innings — the Rebels broke through in the fifth, plating four runs in a 9-5 victory.
Senior Makenna McDonald opened the fifth in a big way, belting a solo home run to center. The Rebels then loaded the bases before Kluever cleared them with a single combined with a Cardinals error.
McDonald finished with a team-high three hits, while Abbott and Kluever both had two hits and three RBIs. Hildebrandt scored three times, while Ehlers scored twice.
Kluever picked up the win, allowing eight hits and striking out six batters.
A day later, the Rebels used two different four-running innings to take down Bellevue, 11-3, in the makeup of Monday’s rained-out contest.
The first four-spot came in the third inning and was highlighted by a two-run double by Ehlers.
Up 7-3, Northeast put the finishing touches on its win with four more runs in the sixth, capped by Kluever, who helped herself with an RBI-double.
Ehlers finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Morris and Spooner added two hits apiece with the former scoring three times.
Kayelee Hansen drove in a pair of runs, while Kluever allowed just three hits and again struck out six batters.