The class 1A semifinals highlight tonight’s action at the state high school softball tournament in Fort Dodge. Defending champion and fifth rated Highland goes up against number eight Newell-Fonda. Highland edged fourth rated Southeast Webster in the opening round and senior shortstop

Amanda Hanson says last year’s title run has provided the Huskies experience but it also adds motivation for the opponent. She says it gets people playing their best game, so it’s a half-and-half benefit.

Newell-Fonda scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to get by Preston in the opening round. Second rated Martensdale-St. Marys did not play like a team making its first trip to the tournament in an opening round win against Fremont-Mills. Eleven members of the team are either freshman or eighth graders.

They play Alburnett in the other 1A semi. Blue Devils coach Todd Verwers says you have to credit the parents who got the kids playing ball early. He says a tough schedule prepared his team for the tournament as they played some 2A and 3A schools and face a lot of good softball in Warren County.

Alburnett advanced after knocking off third rated Woodbury Central in the opening round.