Dale slow pitch team headed to state

Keven Scrutchins
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Dale's Anna Hester waits for the pitch against the Hobart Bearcats Friday.
Dale shortstop Emilia Idleman tosses the ball to second baseman Danyn Lang for the force out against Hobart Friday.

DALE - Hello again.

The Dale Lady Pirates punched their ticket into the Class 4A State Slowpitch Softball Tournament by knocking out the Amber-Pocasset Lady Panthers 16-6 in Friday’s regional championship game.

This will be their 11th straight visit to state and will be looking to get into the title game for the ninth straight year in a row. Dale won five of those titles and holds the last four crowns.

Dale started the day with a 14-2 win over the Hobart Bearcats in just four inning of play. Amber-Pocasset knocked off Pocola, 9-8 in the second game of the day to set up the regional championship match.

The Lady Panthers jumped on the scoreboard early, in the title tilt, scoring three runs on three hits to take an early 3-0 lead. Dale responded, big time. The Lady Pirates answered with five runs on five hits including back-to-back home runs by Madison Conley and Karson Griggs.

After an Anna Hester single to left field, Sam Hartman went deep with the third Dale home run of the frame to give the Lady Pirates a 4-3 lead. Chayse Caram hit a solo-shot two batters later to up the Dale advantage to 5-3 after one. After a scoreless second, Dale added a lone run in the third to take a 6-3 lead. That came on Griggs’ second dinger of the game.

Amber-Pocasset scored a run in the fourth to cut the Dale lead to 6-4, but the Lady Pirates came back at the Lady Panthers with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Gracie Waller and Danyn Lang each drove in a run to up the count to 8-4 heading into the fifth inning. The pesky Lady Panthers never folded and scored a pair of runs in the fifth to get the count to 8-6.

Dale scored a lone run in the bottom half of the fifth to get the score to 9-6 heading into the sixth.

“They (Amber-Pocasset) are a good team,” said Dale head coach Andy Powell. “They are a very good defensive team.”

But not good enough for the power hitting Lady Pirates in the bottom half of the sixth. After a scoreless top half of the sixth for Amber-Pocasset, Dale ended things abruptly, with a seven-run barrage. Lang walked, setting up Conley who then hit a two-run blast over the left-center wall. Griggs then hit her third home run of the game, followed by a Hester blast to right-center. Dale led 13-6 at that point, three shy of a run-rule, with more to come.

Hartman then doubled to left and watched as Bell blasted a two-run shot over the center field fence. Dale led 15-6 and with just one out needed one more run to head to state. It didn’t take long to do just that. Chayse Caram then stepped in the batter’s box and delivered a solo home run to center to end the game at 16-6.

In all, Dale blasted nine home runs and scored the 16 runs on 19 hits.

The Lady Pirates made it to the regional finals with a 14-2 first game win over Hobart.

Dale had a sluggish start and scored just one run in the first and fell behind 2-1 to the Bearcats after an inning and a half of play.

Things changed in the bottom of the second. The Lady Pirates pounded out seven hits and scored nine runs to take a 10-2 lead into the third. Caram had a two-run homer and Bell drove in three on a blast over the left field fence.

The Lady Pirates shut out Hobart the rest of the way before scoring six runs to end the game in the fourth. Dale started the inning with back-to-back-to-back home runs. Griggs, Hartman and Bell each hit solo-shots to spell Hobart’s doom. The Lady Pirates will take a 37-2 record into Tuesday's state tournament play at the Ballfields at FireLake.