Dale captures fifth straight state slow pitch title

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK

Make it five in a row for the Dale Lady Pirates.

Maddie Conley cranked out three home runs, including a walk-off grand slam Wednesday night, in Dale's 24-12 run-rule victory over the Silo Lady Rebels in the Class 4A State Slow Pitch Championship game at the Ballfields at Firelake.

Conley's blasts were three of nine in the game for the Lady Pirates, who capped off an impressive 40-2 season.

Earlier Wednesday, Dale drilled Latta 16-4 in the semifinals after winning their opener 25-7 over Valliant Wednesday morning

“We beat two of our biggest rivals (Latta and Silo) and did it pretty handily,” said Dale head coach Andy Powell. “We played our best three games all year here.”

More:State Slowpitch Softball Championships

The Dale Lady Pirates celebrate at home plate after Maddie Conley's walk-off grand slam ended the state championship game Wednesday night.

Powell credits the Lady Pirates' rugged schedule for setting the stage for this state crown.

“Our schedule allows for this. We've played 6A teams,” Powell said. “I don't think we were nervous at all today.”

Dale won four straight state slow pitch championships from 2016-2019. No state tournament was played in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Dale 24, Silo 12 (Championship Game)

The Lady Pirates trailed 8-2 after the Lady Rebels put together a seven-run top of the second.

“We've been down like that six or seven times this year,” said Powell.

But a nine-run explosion by Dale in the bottom of the second set the tone for the championship. The Lady Pirates led 11-8 and saw Silo pull within 11-10 in the third.

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But Dale stayed ahead thanks and maintained control thanks to a five-run third, four-run fourth and the four-run fifth off Conley's slam to end it.

Conley went 5-for-5 from the plate with a whopping nine runs batted in. She had a solo-blast in the first, a two-run double in the second, a two-run homer in the third, a single in the fourth and the grand slam in the fifth.

' Addie Bell also contributed big to the Lady Pirates' 27-hit attack by going 4-for-4 with a three-run homer in the second inning to go with three singles. Karsen Griggs and Sam Hartman were each 3-for-4 with a homer and two runs batted in. Makenzy Herman was also 3-for-4 with a run-scoring double and two singles up the middle.

Emilia Idleman and Anna Hester also had two hits apiece for Dale. Both of Idleman's hits went for doubles.

The Lady Rebels displayed some offensive firepower with 13 hits and five home runs. However, it wasn't enough to catch the Lady Pirates' fireworks show.

Shaylin Midgley, Bradi Harman, Lexi McDonald, Joe Airington and Avery Beauchamp each clubbed a homer for Silo.

Dale led 2-1 through one inning after Lang and Conley led off with back-to-back solo shots.

The seven-run second inning by Silo put the Lady Pirates in a bind and down by six.

But it wouldn't take long for Dale to climb out, thanks to the nine-run outburst, highlighted by Conley's two-run double, Griggs' two-run homer to left-center and Bell's three-run blast.

The Dale Lady Pirates hold up their hands, signifying their fifth straight slow pitch championship on Wednesday.

Though the Lady Rebels pulled within 11-10 on Airington's two-run shot, the Lady Pirates staged a five-run third as Conley clubbed her two-run home run, Hartman hit were solo shot and Chayse Caram had her two-run blast for a 16-10 Dale advantage.

The Lady Pirates' four-run fourth included Lang's second homer of the game – a two-run shot this time – and Hartman's RBI single.

A leadoff double by Idleman, single up the middle by Herman and walk by Lexi White set the table for Conley's one-out grand slam to end it.

Dale 16, Latta 4 (Semifinals)

Griggs' walk-off two-run double ended the game in the bottom of the fourth,

The double capped a five-run frame as the Lady Pirates' avenged a finals' loss to the Lady Panthers in the 2A state fast pitch finals last fall.

Griggs, Hester, Bell and Caram each cranked out a home run for Dale, which piled up 19 hits.

Caram and Herman each went 3-for-3 from the plate while Lang and Conley each ended up 3-for-4. But Griggs, in going 2-for-3, produced the most RBIs with a three-run homer in the first and the two-run double in the fourth to conclude the game.

Hester and White also had two hits each for the Lady Pirates. Hester ended up with three RBIs off her two-run homer in the second inning and sacrifice fly in the third. White had a run-scoring single in the fourth.

Latta finished with eight hits but helped the Lady Pirate cause by committing four errors.

Brooklyn Ryan, Jaylee Willis and Triniti Cotanny homered for the Lady Panthers.

Latta had three of its errors in the first as Dale led 5-1 through the first frame. Griggs' three-run homer got the Lady Pirates on the board and Herman later had a run-scoring single to highlight the efforts in the inning.

Dale's Anna Hester connects for a two-run homer against Latta Wednesday in the state slow pitch semifinals.

Hester's two-run shot and Bell's solo blast put Dale up 8-2 through two innings. Leading 8-3, the Lady Pirates scored three more times which featured a run-scoring single from Lang and Hester's sacrifice fly to make it 11-3.

The four-run fourth included an RBI single each from White and Conley and Griggs' two-run double to end the contest.