New Franklin Lady Bulldogs softball coach Ross Dowell said the focus for Friday night’s championship game set the tone against Harrisburg in the Class 1 District 7 Tournament in Pilot Grove.
After beating Otterville 17-0 in three innings on Wednesday and Bunceton 8-3 in the semifinal round on Thursday, the Lady Bulldogs figured the championship game would be a little closer.
But as it turned out, the Lady Bulldogs barely had to work up a sweat after exploding for 11 runs in the first and four again in the second en route to a 20-4 victory in three innings of play.
New Franklin, 20-7 overall, will now move on to the sectional round of the state playoffs against Sturgeon on Wednesday, Oct. 16th in New Franklin starting at 6 p.m.
Dowell said his team hit the ball very well to start and that shocked a very young Harrisburg team. “We just kept going and never looked back,” Dowell said. “We had great patience and that paid off. I am so proud of the girls, we had three goals to start the year. Our first goal was to win more games than last year and we won 15 last year and are currently at 20 this season. We also wanted to win both the conference and district title, which we did.”
While finishing with 20 runs, New Franklin also out-hit Harrisburg 9-5.
Senior pitcher Kalani Pihana was also on her game Friday night while holding Harrisburg to just four runs on five hits and one walk in three innings. She also struck out three batters.
Kyla Brown, meanwhile, took the loss for Harrisburg by giving up 13 runs, eight earned, on eight hits and five walks while striking out two.
As for the hitting in the game for New Franklin, junior Aislinn Himmelberg went 2-for-4 with two home runs and six RBIs while Kalani Pihana added a single, double and four RBIs, Sara Montgomery with a single, double and three RBIs, Claire Monnig with a three-RBI double, Aly Hundley with a RBI-double and Valerie Schlotzhauer with a RBI-single.
For Harrisburg, Baylee Hudson went 2-for-2 with a single and a double while Megan Crowley added a home run and two RBIs, Brown with a double and two RBIs and Kirsten Southernland with one single.