Norwalk countered Indianola’s four-run third inning with a four-run top of the fifth on Wednesday night, outlasting the Indians 7-5 in an entertaining Little Hawkeye Conference softball battle heard on (KNIA3).

The Class 4A seventh-ranked Warriors struck first, taking a 2-0 lead on Nyah Hulbert’s second-inning RBI single and Lauren Black’s solo home run in the third. The 4A sixth-ranked Indians turned things around with one swing of the bat in the third, going ahead 4-2 on Jordyn Gripp’s two-out, two-strike grand slam over the right-center field fence.

Norwalk got one run back in the fourth, then plated four in the fifth with the help of a Bailey Birmingham safety squeeze bunt, a successful double steal and Maddie Gullion’s two-run double. Olivia Dougherty, who pitched the final three innings in relief of Zadie Wadle, struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh to cap the Warriors’ ninth straight victory.

Norwalk improved to 20-4 overall and 13-2 in the Little Hawkeye, maintaining its share of a first-place tie with 2nd-ranked Dallas Center-Grimes. Indianola, which swept a doubleheader at Norwalk on June 5, dropped to 19-8 overall and 12-3 in the conference. Warriors coach Beau Livingston tells KNIA-KRLS Sports that his team must refocus quickly for tonight’s varsity doubleheader at home vs. DC-G.

“(Thursday) night is going to be fun. My mind is already there,” he said. “I told the girls to make sure they enjoy this tonight, but tomorrow is going to be a pretty exciting night in Norwalk.”

Livingston credits his squad for putting together some long, tough at-bats against Indianola pitcher Izzie Benge on a warm, muggy night. He was also pleased with their small-ball execution during the four-run fifth.

The Warriors outhit the Indians 12-7. Lauren Black was 3-for-3 with her fifth home run and an RBI single. Gullion and Addi Downe both finished with two hits and Grace Dehmer had a pinch-hit double. Jordyn Gripp led the Indians with a grand slam and a single off the fence while Katie Fosenburg added a pair of singles and one RBI.

Tonight’s Norwalk vs. DC-G doubleheader starts at 5:30 p.m. Game two will be streamed live on KNIA3. Indianola returns to action Friday with a doubleheader at Grinnell.