Expectations exceeded.

That was Andy Powell’s assessment of his Dale squad after they came up short against top-ranked Silo, 4-1, in Saturday’s Class 2A state fast-pitch finals at the FireLake Ballfields.

Dale had captured the last two fast-pitch crowns over Silo but sophomore hurler Christina Clark stymied the Pirates on a 3-hitter.

“She was the difference in the game,” Powell said of Clark. “She is really good. We beat her 2-1 when she was just a freshman.

“Silo had pretty much everyone back this year and we graduated seven starters. Silo was by far the best team going into state and they had the best pitcher.”

Dale’s sole run came in the top of the first inning. Emmie Idelman, who was plunked by Clark to open the game, was forced at second by Danyn Lang. Lang proceeded to steal second, then scored on Sam Hartman’s single.

Silo, 37-3, tied the game in the bottom of the first, then netted three runs in the sixth.

Clark registered 12 strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk.

Addie Bell of Dale, pitching in her third state tourney game in three days, permitted eight hits, fanned two and walked three in six innings of the championship game.

“Addie was really good as a sophomore,” Powell said. “She showed a lot of guts and toughness.”

Dale, which finished 33-5, loses just one fast-pitch senior in Jalynn Haley.

“We really did exceed expectations,” Powell said. “It is a testament to our kids and our program.”

Dale has won five state fast-pitch titles: 2003, 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. It was Silo’s first fast-pitch title.

Note: Report compiled by contributing writer Fred Fehr.