STERLING – Kris Nunez was pretty sure even before Wednesday's game started that Jordan Giddings had her game face on.
The Rock Falls coach was positive after her senior star laced a double down the left-field line in the first inning.
"I could hear the ball humming as it went past," Nunez said after the Rockets 6-0 win over Dixon in a semifinal of the 3A Sterling Regional.
"What I could see right away was that she had her game face on even before the game started. When you have a senior, you see that sort of determination at this point of the year."
The Rockets (25-4) advance to play Sterling in Saturday's regional championship game at 11 a.m.
Giddings (7-1) started the game in the circle, pitching against the Duchesses for the second time in a week. Rock Falls beat Dixon 3-0 on Thursday.
After walking Bre Grobe, she recovered to strike out the next three Duchesses.
"I know this is my senior year and my last sport," Giddings said. "It's my last chance to do this, and I was going to come in focused and ready."
In the bottom of the first, Giddings did the job at the plate.
Morgan Mammosser led off against Beccah Jones with a bloop single. Paige Reynolds bunted to move Mammosser to second.
Linsey Brown, another senior, laced a double to center to score Mammosser. Giddings followed with the double to left to put Rock Falls up 2-0. The first inning scoring ended when Jessica Stickel singled in Giddings.
"We didn't come ready to play," Dixon coach Chris Jones said. "We had two girls that had AP tests today, and they didn't get here until 5 minutes before the game. We had to change around the lineup at the last minute. It just wasn't how we wanted to start."
Dixon (9-17) had one hit, a single by Emily Bay, against Giddings. They had one scoring chance when Rachel Musser and Jones both reached to start the sixth inning on Rock Falls errors.
Giddings worked out of it by striking out Kari Wolfe and MacKenzie Barnhart. Musser was then thrown out trying to steal third on Barnhart's third strike.
Giddings, who was the Big Northern West co-pitcher of the year according to Nunez, finished with 13 strikeouts and three walks.
Giddings also had three doubles and scored three runs.
"It's really nice to see her hitting like that," Nunez said. "We're going to need that for sure. Overall, we hit the ball very hard. A few times they made some nice plays or it was right at them, and that's sort of what kept it from becoming a 10-run game."
Rock Falls added single runs in the second, third and fourth innings against Erin Smith.
Smith threw the last five innings for Dixon, giving up four hits and one earned run.
Rock Falls was without sophomore pitcher and shortstop Michaela Ward, who was resting a tweaked hamstring. Nunez said the rest was precautionary, and that she'll likely play on Saturday.
Star of the game: Jordan Giddings, Rock Falls, winning pitcher, H, 0 R, 13 SO, 3 BB ... also 3 2Bs, 3 runs, RBI
Key performers: Linsey Brown, Rock Falls, 2B, RBI; Kaylyn Booker, Rock Falls, 2 H, R
Up next: 3A Sterling Regional Championship, Rock Falls vs. Sterling, 11 a.m. Saturday