Strong finish comes up short for S. Callaway

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A furious finish couldn’t overcome a sluggish start for the South Callaway Lady Bulldogs.

The Lady Bulldogs scored six runs in the final three innings of Saturday’s Class 2 softball state championship game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Bishop LeBlond.

The Golden Eagles scored six runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth to lead 8-0, then held on for an 8-6 win and the school’s first softball title.

The Lady Bulldogs, who were also seeking their first softball crown, started their comeback with four runs in the fifth. Karli Leeper got things going when her double to left plated two runs, and the other two runs later scored on a pair of LeBlond errors.

South Callaway’s final two runs came in a seventh-inning rally. With one out, Abby Bartley doubled and was replaced by pinch runner Alyssa Laughlin. Anna Bartley then laced a double to score Laughlin. Brooke Young, who came in as a pinch runner, then scored when Kaitlyn Loucks doubled. But she got stranded at second as a popup and a groundout ended the game.

Leeper ended up with two hits and two RBI, while Anna Bartley and Loucks added two hits and one RBI apiece.

Bailey Ward chipped in with a pair of hits.

LeBlond (26-3) got the win despite being outhit 11-9.

The Golden Eagles scored their six runs in the third inning on three hits and two errors, then got their two in the fourth inning on three hits and one error.

Abby Bartley took the loss, giving up eight runs (none earned) on nine hits. She walked five and did not record a strikeout.

This was the first trip to the Final Four in the history of the South Callaway softball program.

The Lady Bulldogs end the season with a record of 24-5.

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