Dutchgirl nine reach district title game

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 10/20/21

SULLIVAN — Keep it clean.

That is what Hannah Koppelmann’s Owensville Dutchgirl softball team had to do Saturday morning facing Sullivan’s Lady Eagles in the Missouri State High …

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Dutchgirl nine reach district title game

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SULLIVAN — Keep it clean.

That is what Hannah Koppelmann’s Owensville Dutchgirl softball team had to do Saturday morning facing Sullivan’s Lady Eagles in the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 3, District 3 Softball Tournament championship game.

Grabbing an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Dutchgirls saw that lead quickly disappear in the bottom of the first.

A dropped third strike, two errors and a walk led to four Sullivan runs.

Unable to overcome the early deficit, Owensville saw their season end at 13-12 overall after a 10-3 loss to the Lady Eagles.

“We made too many mistakes today and you can’t do that against a team as good as Sullivan is,” Koppelmann said. “I’m proud of our girls for what we accomplished this season and am looking forward to next season.”

Batting first as the visiting team against Sullivan, OHS took advantage in the top of the first inning with a run on two hits, a walk and an error.

Senior Leah Reed led the game off reaching on an error before an Anna Finley single and a walk to Addison Wright loaded the bases.

Two strikeouts later, Emma Daniels delivered an RBI single through the left side of the infield scoring Reed to give Owensville an early 1-0 lead.

Sullivan answered in the bottom of the first with four runs seeing two of them come on an Alexis Funkhouser 2-run home run.

OHS had a chance in the top of the second to cut into the 4-1 deficit.

Reed started a two-out rally with a double followed by a Finley single.

Both runners were left stranded on an inning-ending ground out.

Sullivan turned a walk and an error into another run and a 5-1 lead after two innings.

A scoreless third inning led to another scoring chance for the Dutchgirls in the top of the fourth inning.

Hitting a 3-run home run in junior-varsity action against Cuba earlier this season, sophomore Kate Blankenship hit her first varsity home run for a solo shot with one out in the top of the fourth inning.

That blast cut the Sullivan lead to 5-2 halfway through the game.

A hit batter, walk and dropped third strike in the bottom of the fourth led to two more Sullivan runs leaving OHS trailing 7-2 after four innings.

Only able to plate one more run in the top of the seventh inning on an Emma Daniels RBI triple scoring Paige Loyd, the Dutchgirl softball careers of Wright, Finley, Reed and Loyd came to an end Saturday.

“Our seniors worked their tails off to get us to where we ended this season,” Koppelmann said. “They are going to be immensely missed next year.”

Dutchgirls vs. Lutheran South

Fresh off a 12-3 first-round victory over St. James three nights earlier, Koppelmann’s Dutchgirls took on Lutheran South’s Lady Lancers Friday night instead of Thursday due to excessive rainfall.

Nursing a 3-2 lead through six innings, Owensville turned four hits into five huge insurance tallies before going on to upset the second-seed Lady Lancers 8-2 punching their ticket to the district championship game.

Scoreless through two innings,  it only took one swing to break the tie in the top of the third inning.

Reed reached on an error before Finley crushed a two-run home run over the center-field fence for a 2-0 Dutchgirl lead.

Lutheran South got a run back in the bottom of the fourth inning before the Dutchgirls had an answer in the top of the fifth.

Wright helped her own cause with a leadoff walk before stealing second base and advancing to third base on a Loyd ground out.

Wright scored later in the inning on a throwing error giving OHS their two-run lead back after five frames.

Drawing walks in her previous two plate appearances, Wright cranked a two-run home run over the center-field fence highlighting a five-run top of the seventh inning propelling the Dutchgirls to the semifinal upset of Lutheran South.

Dutchgirls vs. St. James

Ending the regular season with three losses in the Rolla Tournament, Koppelmann’s Dutchgirls looked to open the MSHSAA Class 3, District 3 Softball Tournament last Tuesday on a winning note against St. James’ Lady Tigers.

A grand slam off the bat of Reed in the bottom of the second inning gave Wright all the run support she would need during a 12-3 first-round victory over St. James.

“It was awesome to see Leah hit her first varsity home run in the first round of districts,” Koppelmann said.

Reed nearly had a chance at two slams in one inning but the frame ended with her in the on-deck circle and two runners on base.

Later in the game, Wright helped her own cause with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to go along with three walks.

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