SHAWNEE— Looking for number six.
The Dale Lady Pirates began the quest for their sixth straight softball title in a row Thursday with a 14-4 beat down of the Stroud Lady Tigers. The Lady Pirates need two more victories to earn the Class 2A State Softball Tournament crown.
Dale took a 2-0 lead after the first inning and were challenged, once, in the contest.
Emmie Idleman got things rolling with a double to center and scored on Addie Bell’s RBI single to left field. Maddie Conley then drove in the second run on a sharply-hit ball that got past the third baseman. Dale led 2-0, but was just getting started.
The Lady Pirates increased the lead to 6-0, with a four-run second inning. Makenzy Herman singled to right and Jalyn Haley walked to set the table for Danyn Lang. Lang, with one out hit a towering fly ball to left, that was dropped and scored Herman on the play. Idleman followed that up with a two-run single to right field. Conley drove in the fourth run of the inning with another single to right field. Dale scored the four runs on three hits.
The Stroud Tigers then challenged in the top of the third, scoring four runs to cut the Dale lead to 6-4. Stroud was aided by two infield singles and on a throwing error. Katlyn Hughey scored two runs on a double to left and Macey Morris was credited with two runs batted in on the Dale infield error.
Dale erupted for seven runs in the bottom half of the third to take a commanding 13-4 lead. Anna Hester led off with a single and Chayse Caram walked. Haley drove in the first run of the frame with a single to center. Idleman then walked to load the bases, with one out. Addie Bell then drew another walk, scoring the second run. Conley then continued with a very hot bat and she drove in three runs on a double to deep center field. Sam Hartman kept the inning going as she drove in Conley on yet another double to center. Herman drove in the seventh run on another scoring single.
Dale starter Bell slammed the door on Stroud in the fourth and fifth innings. She gave up the four runs on four hits and struck out two Lady Tigers.
Bell also led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a double and scored Dale’s final run on a Conley single to center. That gave Dale the run rule, with a 10-run lead after five innings.
Dale, who has won fast pitch titles under coach Andy Powell in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 will face Latta in semifinal action, today at 5:30 pm. The game will be played at The Ballfields At FireLake.