You knew something had to give Saturday during the CCAA Softball Tournament at Prairie Home while matching No. 1 Bunceton versus No. 2 Pilot Grove.


While both teams had little if any trouble in the semifinal round of the tournament, with Bunceton winning 21-6 overall Otterville and Pilot Grove prevailing 7-1 over Jamestown, the championship game after a slight rain delay figured to be a battle back and forth.


You knew something had to give Saturday during the CCAA Softball Tournament at Prairie Home while matching No. 1 Bunceton versus No. 2 Pilot Grove.

While both teams had little if any trouble in the semifinal round of the tournament, with Bunceton winning 21-6 overall Otterville and Pilot Grove prevailing 7-1 over Jamestown, the championship game after a slight rain delay figured to be a battle back and forth.

And for the first-three innings it was everything and more, with Pilot Grove leading 4-3. However a five-run fourth inning proved to be the difference as the Lady Tigers turned back Bunceton 10-4 for the title.
Pilot Grove coach Renee Roberts said McKenzie Schuster continued to stay hot in the championship game by hitting a home run. “We absolutely earned the win today, both in the field and at the plate,”

Roberts said. “The girls are really seeing the ball well and making excellent contact. I hope this trend continues throughout the rest of the season.”

It sure looked good on Saturday as Pilot Grove opened the game against Bunceton with one run in the top-half of the first on a RBI-single to left by McKalie Lorenz.

But even that was short-lived as Bunceton rallied back with two runs in the bottom-half of the inning when Sam Brandes reached on a two-run error to give the Lady Dragons the lead at 2-1.

However, in the second inning, Pilot Grove rattled the bats again with two runs with back-to-back singles by McKayla Wesselman and Mckenzi Schuster and a two-RBI double to left by Kerigan Wessing to make it 3-2.

Of course it didn’t take Bunceton long to get the run back. Batting in the bottom-half of the second, the Lady Dragons added another run when Lizzy Maddex led off with a bloop single over second and later scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 3-all.

However, in the third inning, Pilot Grove took the lead for good by pushing across one run on the RBI-single to center by Taylor Denomme to go up 4-3.

The Lady Dragons never got any closer in the ballgame as Pilot Grove came back and exploded for five runs in the top-half of the fourth on four hits, which was capped off by a three-run home run to left by Schuster to extend the lead to 9-3. Then, after Bunceton added another run in the bottom-half of the fourth, Pilot Grove came back and plated one run in the fifth on the triple to left-center by Lorenz and a RBI-single to left by Lauren Vollrath to garner the victory.

Senior Hailey Bader picked up the win on the mound for Pilot Grove, 5-5 on the season, while Chelsea Emde took the loss for Bunceton, who dropped to 6-4 on the season. Bader pitched all seven innings and gave up four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out five. Emde, meanwhile, went the distance and allowed 10 runs on 18 hits and one walk while striking out one.

Bunceton coach Roger Stone said for the second year in a row the Lady Dragons finished second in the conference tournament. 

“We came ready to play against Otterville by pounding out 17 hits and collecting four home runs,” Stone said.  “Our hitters were seeing the ball great and they took advantage of it.  We then got to sit for five hours and wait due to rain delays and two games.  We didn't have the same fire for the championship game.  Our defense let us down by committing 10 errors and we didn't string hits together like we did in the first game but hats off to Pilot Grove, they made the plays and hit the ball better than us and they deserved to win and we didn't.  We still have two tough games in conference coming up against Jamestown and Pilot Grove again, so if we play like we can, we can still win the conference title and that is one of our goals for the season.”

Senior Lauren Vollrath led the hitting attack for Pilot Grove with four singles. Mckenzi Schuster was 3-for-4 with two singles and a home run, while McKalie Lorenz added two singles and one triple, McKayla Wesselman with three singles, Kerigan Wessing with a single and a double and Hailey Bader with two singles.

For Bunceton, Sam Brandes went 2-for-4 with a single, double and two RBIs. Erica Kahle was 2-for-3 with two singles and one RBI, while Kaitlyn Fountain added one double, Chelsea Emde, Maddy Berwanger and Lizzy Maddex each with one single and Jessica Wieland with one RBI.

Friday’s games
Otterville 20
Prairie Home 4
The Otterville Lady Eagles softball team broke a 4-4 tie after three innings by exploding for 13 runs in the fourth and three again in the fifth to beat the Prairie Home Lady Panthers in the opening round of the CCAA Tournament Friday night in Prairie Home.

Prairie Home coach Kris Stodgel said this was a tough loss for the girls. “We started out pretty well,” Stodgel said. “Jessie did her best pitching, but we lost Megan Morton on a collision at third and then it all seemed to fall apart. It’s tough to see a teammate get hurt and still play hard. Going to see some changes all around the field in the coming games to make up for our injured players.”

Hannah Stone picked up the win in the circle for Otterville while Jessie Kennedy took the loss for Prairie Home. In five innings, Stone gave up four runs on five hits and eight walks while striking out seven. Kennedy, meanwhile, pitched all five innings and surrendered 20 runs on 15 hits and 10 walks.

Otterville also out-hit Prairie Home 15-5, with Lauren Helmig and Alex Malone collecting three singles each.

For Prairie Home, Kennedy had a double and a triple while Megan Morton added one double and three RBIs and Kohlie Stock and Brooke Emmerich each with one single.

In the other game in the consolation semifinals, Jamestown defeated Higbee 14-1.

Meanwhile, in the consolation finals, Prairie Home turned back Higbee 10-7.

The Lady Panthers trailed Higbee 2-0 after the first inning before rallying back with five runs in the bottom-half of the second to go up 5-2. Then, after Higbee tied the game at 5-all with three runs in the top-half of the third, Prairie Home came back and plated three runs in the bottom-half of the inning to go up 8-5. Both teams then sent two runs across in the fourth inning with the Lady Panthers winning by three.

Coach Stodgel said the girls really came out and played their hearts out on this one. “We battled through injuries, but they came together as a team and it worked,” Stodgel said. “I am very proud of the girls. Jessie pitched a good game, too, with five strikeouts.”

Jessie Kennedy picked up the win on the mound for Prairie Home while Shanna Clark took the loss for Higbee. In four innings, Kennedy struck out five batters and gave up seven runs on six hits and seven walks. Clark, meanwhile, pitched five innings and issued 10 runs on eight hits and 12 walks while striking out four.

Prairie Home also finished the game with eight hits, with Jessie Kennedy going 3-for-3 with three singles. Brooke Emmerich had two singles while Kalindra Bowlin added a home run, Kendra Stinson with one triple and Kohlie Stock with one single.

Higbee was led by Tori Dillon with two singles.

Semifinals
Bunceton 21
Otterville 6
Sam Brandes went 3-for-3 with a single, triple, home run and four RBIs, and teammate Erica Kahle added a single, triple, home run and one RBI as the Bunceton Lady Dragons softball team defeated Otterville in the semifinal round of the CCAA Tournament Saturday in Prairie Home.

The Lady Dragons opened the game with a 5-2 lead after one and then exploded for 14 runs in the second and two again in the third to win by the mercy rule.

Chelsea Emde was the winning pitcher in the game for Bunceton. Emde pitched the first-two innings and gave up two earned runs on four hits while striking out one. Sam Brandes then came in and pitched one inning in relief and allowed one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out two.

Maddy Berwanger also had multiple hits in the game for Bunceton with two singles, a home run and three RBIs.

Lizzy Maddex finished the game with a single, home run and one RBI, while Brittney Jones added a single, double and four RBIs, Rachel Emde with two singles and three RBIs, Julia Kahle with one single and one RBI and Chelsea Emde with one single.

Pilot Grove 7
Jamestown 1
The Jamestown Lady Eagles softball team scored one run in the top-half of the first, but it was all Pilot Grove after that with one run in each of the second, third and fourth innings of play and four again in the fifth for a 7-1 victory in the semifinal round of the CCAA Softball Tournament Saturday in Prairie Home.

“I’m so proud of Taylor (Denomme) for stepping up and pitching when we needed her,”?Roberts said. “She held Jamestown to one run and didn’t walk anyone. Hailey (Bader) came in and closed the game out well. I’m also very excited for Mckenzi Schuster, who has been hitting so well. Three RBIs from your No. 8 hitter is always exciting.”

Taylor Denomme was the pitcher of record in the game for Pilot Grove while Imhoff took the loss for Jamestown. In three innings, Denomme gave up just one run on three hits. Bader then came in and pitched three innings in relief and allowed two hits while striking out four.

Pilot Grove also had 10 hits in the game, with Melissa Schlotzhauer going 3-for-4 with three singles and on RBI. Mckenzi Schuster had a single, triple and three RBIs while Bader added two singles, Lauren Vollrath with a triple and two RBIs and McKayla Wesselman with one single.

For Jamestown, Muri tripled while L. Imhoff and M. Imhoff each had one single.