Tournament action continues tonight at 5 p.m.
As expected the New Franklin Lady Bulldogs softball team had little trouble Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 1 District 7 Tournament in Pilot Grove while beating eighth-seeded Otterville 17-0 in three innings.
As for the remaining three games, they were all decided by two runs or less as No. 2 Jamestown held off No. 7 Prairie Home in a 12-inning thriller 9-8 while No. 4 Bunceton knocked off fifth-seeded Father Tolton 9-7. Meanwhile, in the final game, No. 6 Harrisburg edged No. 3 Pilot Grove 4-3 in a game that went into Thursday morning.
The Lady Bulldogs, which improved to 18-7 on the season, wasted little time getting out in front against Otterville while exploding for 12 runs in the first and five again in the second.
New Franklin coach Ross Dowell said the girls came out and had really good focus at the plate. "We will need to do the same against Bunceton," Dowell said.
Claire Monnig picked up the win in the circle for New Franklin while Stephanie Oswald took the loss for Otterville. In three innings, Monnig struck out two batters and gave up just two hits and one walk. Oswald, meanwhile, pitched two innings in relief and allowed 17 runs, 11 earned, on 12 hits and four walks while striking out one.
As for the hitting in the game for New Franklin, senior Sara Montgomery was perfect at the plate with three singles and two RBIs.
Claire Monnig had a single, double and three RBIs while Aly Hundley added two singles and one RBI, Aislinn Himmelberg with a home run and five RBIs and Kalani Pihana, Valerie Schlotzhauer, Abby Prewitt and Cassie Armentrout each with one single and one RBI.
In the second game, Bunceton also took the early lead against Father Tolton while pushing across two runs in each of the first-two innings to go up 4-1. Meanwhile, after adding another run in the top-half of the third to make it 5-1, the Lady Dragons may have let their guard down a little bit while giving up two in the bottom-half of the inning as Father Tolton cut the lead to 5-3.
The game was back and forth after that, with Bunceton sending one run across in the fourth and three again in the fifth to extend the lead to 9-3 while Father Tolton added three in the bottom-half of the fifth and one again in the sixth.
Bunceton coach Rusty Parkhurst said the girls came out aggressive getting good hitting 1-9. "Everyone contributed and that's what we needed to beat No. 4 Father Tolton," Parkhurst said. "We will need it all again to play with New Franklin."
Senior Samantha Brandes picked up the complete-game victory for Bunceton, 14-7 overall, while Kelsey Lynn Bequette took the loss for Father Tolton. In seven innings, Brandes struck out four batters and gave up seven runs on eight hits and five walks. Bequette, meanwhile, pitched the first-four innings and allowed five runs on three hits and three walks. Liz Sullivan then came in and pitched three innings in relief and issued three runs on five hits.
Bunceton also out-hit Father Tolton 9-8, with Brandes going 2-for-4 with a single, double and one RBI. Morgan Wieland finished the game with two singles and one RBI while Lizzy Maddex added two singles, Maddie Berwanger with a RBI-triple, Julia Kahle with a RBI-double, Rachel Emde also with one double and Deanne Emde and Rachel Lenz with one RBI each.
For Father Tolton, Courtney Blount went 2-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBIs while Liz Sullivan and Haley Canaday added one single, one double and one RBI each, Katherine Kadlec with one single and Cindy Menk with a RBI-single.
In one of the most exciting games on opening night, the Jamestown Lady Eagles scored the winning run in the bottom-half of the 12th to beat Prairie Home 9-8.
After the Lady Eagles plated one run in each of the first-two innings to go up 2-0, Prairie Home came back and grabbed the lead with a four-run third inning to make it 4-2. Then, after Jamestown added another run in the bottom-half of the third to cut the lead to one at 4-3, Prairie Home came back again with one run to extend the lead to 5-3.
The Lady Eagles, however, battled back again with one in the fifth while Prairie Home sent two runs across in the sixth to go ahead 7-4. But even that was short-lived as Jamestown clawed its way back with two runs again in the bottom-half of the sixth and one in the seventh to tie the game at 7-all.
Then, after both teams failed to score in the eighth, ninth and 10th inning, Prairie Home came up with one in the top-half of the 11th while Jamestown answered in its half of the inning to forge a tie again at 8-8.
Unfortunately for Prairie Home, they were unable to score in its half of the 12th while Jamestown came up with the winning run in the bottom-half of the inning for the victory.
Despite the loss, Prairie Home coach Glenda Scott said the girls played their best game of the year.
"Makayla (Zey) pitched super and I thought we hit the ball well," Scott said. "Jamestown has speed but Shianne (Rhorer) threw out three at second. She had a great game behind the plate and batting. Ally Small also stepped up and hit the ball hard for us. Jessie Kennedy was back from an injury at second and played well. It was a good night. I am proud of the way we played. I just wish we could have won the game for the girls because they played hard."
Stephanie Birkmann picked up the complete-game victory for Jamestown while Makayla Zey took the loss for Prairie Home. In 12 innings, Birkmann gave up eight runs on 12 hits and three walks while striking out 12. Zey, meanwhile, went the distance as well and surrendered nine runs on 11 hits and six walks while striking out 16 batters.
As for the hitting in the game for Jamestown, Birkmann had a single, double and a home run. Mackenzie Strother added two triples while Robyn Eschenbrenner had a single and a triple, Mickayla Strother with two singles and three RBIs, which included the winning hit in the 12th, Alli Muri with one double and Monica Dietzel with one single.
For Prairie Home, Zey went 4-for-6 with two singles and two doubles while Ally Small added four singles and two RBIs, Brooke Emmerich with a single and a double and Shianne Rhorer and Amber Carmichael with one single each.
In the final game, which didn't get started until 10:30 p.m., the Lady Tigers softball team battled Harrisburg all the way to the end tied at 1-1 at the end of one and 3-3 after three.
Meanwhile, after a scoreless fourth inning, Harrisburg scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom-half of the fifth for a 4-3 victory.
While the loss closed out Pilot Grove's record to 13-10 overall, head coach Clint Poulsen said the game against Harrisburg was the kind of game that came down to the little mistakes and unfortunately the Lady Tigers made just a couple that hurt us.
"Harrisburg played very well and was able to keep our offense down," Poulsen said. "We had many opportunities with runners in scoring position and just couldn't seem to get a key hit when we needed it, which wasn't like us because for most of the season we have done well getting the big hit at a clutch time. Offensively Melissa and Kenzi led the way, but again we just couldn't find enough ways to score them when they were on.
"Early on it looked like we would break out, but their pitcher did a good job of getting us to roll over and pop up balls to get out of jams. Melissa threw one of her best games of the year and really held down a good hitting Harrisburg team. The defense for the most part backed her and made the plays they had to. It was a really well played game on both ends and one team had to lose, unfortunately it was us. I want to thank McKenzi Schuster for all of her hard work and leadership over the last four years, she will be missed next fall."
Kyla Brown picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Bulldogs while Melissa Schlotzhauer took the loss for Pilot Grove. Brown pitched all seven innings and gave up three runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out four. Schlotzhauer, meanwhile, pitched all seven innings as well and struck out 13 batters while giving up four runs on one hit and five walks.
Brown also had the only hit in the game for Harrisburg, being a single.
For Pilot Grove, which finished the game with nine hits, McKalie Lorenz and McKenzi Schuster each went 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI.
Melissa Schlotzhauer was 2-for-4 with two singles while Kerigan Wessing added a triple and Rachel Lorenz and Katelyn Renfro each with one single.
Pilot Grove also stranded 11 runners in the game.