The People's Tribune

­­­­­­­Lady Cats Are State Champs!!

Lady Cats Earn First-Ever State Championship Title

T-shirts, posters and internet memes all agree “Softball is Life” and in life, you have to make your moments. The Bowling Green softball team made their moment in Springfield, earning the programs first ever State Championship.

It wasn’t easy, lucky and definitely wasn’t handed to the Lady Cats. For two days the girls battled and pushed for every foot that crossed the plate.

In the Class 2 Semifinal on Friday morning against Kelly, the Lady Cats had to overcome a four run deficit for a come-from-behind 7-6 victory.

Bowling Green picked up single runs in the bottom of the second and third innings when Haylee Chandler drove in Taylor Darnell with a two-out single then Mallory Feldewerth knocked in Anah Noble with a hit.

The Lady Cats surrendered the lead in the top of the fourth when an error and a couple of well-placed hits led to three Kelly runs.

The Hawks lead increased in the top of the fifth inning. With two outs, Kelly got a pair of infield singles which was followed by a three-run homer from catcher Marissa Worth.

With their Championship hopes on the line, Bowling Green came together in the bottom of the fifth and made a moment for themselves.

Noble and Feldewerth led off the inning with back-to-back singles, followed by an RBI hit from Gabi Deters and a two-run single from KateLynn Charlton to pull the Lady Cats within a run.

After a ground-out by Sarah Harness advanced two runners to second and third, Kaylyn McKee stroked an opposite field hit to right to tie the game.

Harness allowed a single in the top of the sixth and the runner advanced to third, but Harness induced a ground-out and a pop-up to left to strand the runner in scoring position.

In the bottom of the frame, Deters and Charlton would put Bowling Green ahead for good.

With two outs and the bases empty, the Lady Cat catcher hit a ball to the gap for a double, then took an extra base as the Hawks defense tossed the ball back in. So with Deters at third, KateLynn Charlton brought her home with a liner to right.

Harness retired the Hawks in order with three ground balls in the top of the seventh, handling the last two herself to seal the win and advance to the title game.

Harness finished the semifinal with eight strikeouts in the game.

KateLynn Charlton was four for four with three RBIs and Gabi Deters picked up two hits and scored twice to share the Community State Bank TribCast Player of the Game.

Coach Dean Streed pointed out the girls didn’t panic when Kelly took the lead, instead they just responded and got the job done.

He added that “with Sarah [Harness] in the circle and this offense” the team is pretty unstoppable.

“You can see that confidence glaring in their eyes,” he remarked.

Senior first baseman KateLynn Charlton noted the team was prepared and they all knew they could count on each other.

“All the work we put in has been worth it for this,” Deters asserted. She added that it was tough seeing the Kelly home run but she knew they would persevere and come from behind for the win.

The semifinal win set up a championship matchup on Saturday with last year’s second place team – the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons.

Again, Bowling Green had to manufacture their moment.

As the Lady Cats offense was stymied by a wide strike zone and tough pitching from Makenna Kliethermes, it was on the defense to change the momentum.

Falcons right fielder Hannah Schroeder led off the second with a triple for Blair Oaks, putting the pressure on Harness and the Lady Cats.

Center fielder Brooke Boessen followed the triple, by lining a one strike pitch right at the ankles of Bowling Green third base Kaylyn McKee. The ball bent the glove of McKee, so she pinned the ball to her leg to record the first out and keep the runner at third.

The Falcons tried McKee again with a grounder that she handed nicely. Harness struck out the last batter to end the inning.

With momentum firmly in hand, Bowling Green went to work in the top of the fourth.

Gabi Deters doubled to lead off the frame, then stole third. The throw from catcher Sydney Wilde went over third base into left field, allowing Deters to come home for the Lady Cats’ first run.

Two batters later, Bowling Green would add a two out run as Sarah Harness picked up her first hit since returning from injury and was replaced by runner Taylor Darnell.

Haylee Chandler followed with a walk ahead of center-fielder Katy Horner who sent a one-strike pitch high into the air behind third base that caught the strong wind that had fielders baffled all afternoon.

The ball fell between the left-fielder and shortstop for a hit and the second Bowling Green run.

The Lady Falcons came back with a two out run in the bottom of the inning as Schroeder walked and scored on a triple from Boessen who ended up stranded at third as Harness picked up another strikeout to end the frame.

Now up 2-1, Bowling Green took advantage of a rare two out intentional walk to Deters. She stole second and the throw from Wilde was wild again. Deters took third, looked back as the center-fielder bobbled the ball and broke for home to score the third run for the Lady Cats.

Harness retired the next five batters she faced before a double and walk put runners on in the sixth for Blair Oaks. Once again Harness battled back to get the strikeout and end the Falcon threat.

In the seventh, Bowling Green came to bat looking for insurance runs. Kliethermes seemed to get tired under the stress of the most pitches she had been forced to throw all season, Bowling Green got even more selective at the plate.

After a hit from Morgen Billings to lead off, Anah Noble drew a walk. With two runners on base and one out Blair Oaks called for another intentional pass to Deters. Kliethermes lost her release point following the free pass and walked both KateLynn Charlton for an RBI and McKee to force in a run.

Sarah Harness followed with a bouncing ball to second that forced Deters out at home, but Wilde threw over first base for her third error, allowing Charlton to score for a five run Bowling Green lead.

A lead-off walk and a one out error put runners on the corners for Blair Oaks in their final at bat, but Harness struck out Cameron Dulle for the second out, then got Macey Stockman to fly a ball high to short center. Katy Horner tracked the ball through the wind and squeezed it with both hands as the Lady Cats captured their first-ever softball championship title with the 6-1 win.

Harness and Deters shared the Community State Bank TribCast Player of the Game. The big bat of Deters had Blair Oaks worried and she made them pay even when they intentionally walked her. Harness only allowed one run on three hits and struck out nine batters in the title win.

Killian Stadium was packed with Bowling Green faithful who were loud and proud for the Lady Cats throughout the game and following the win. The community gathered at the roundabout to cheer for the girls as they entered town. There were also fireworks and a ton of signs. The gym was also packed for the celebration at the school.

Streed said he was incredibly proud of the team and pointed out they brought tremendous energy to both games.

All of the Bowling Green postseason games were featured on TribCast and are available in the archive with streaming video. Also find free, downloadable photos from the season and postseason.

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