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By David Sharp
Marceline (22-3-1), Ranked fifth in Missouri Softball Class 2) scored six first inning runs and added nine more in the third inning of their October 5, 2021 Lewis and Clark Conference varsity softball game with Knox County (7-14, 2-6) for a dominating 16-1 victory in three innings.
The Lady Tigers hit the ball as consistently hard as in any high school softball game this reporter has witnessed during the 2021 season. Knox County played without starting infielder Brianna Miller due to illness.
Knox County threatened in the top of the first inning. Jen Hinkle led off the game with a base hit. Daniela Dooley followed with a KCHS single. Tiger pitcher Ireland Bloss induced a ground ball for the first out. Bloss struck out the next two batters for a scoreless top of the first inning.
The first six Marceline batters reached base against Knox County starting pitcher Agnes Reel. Cassi Rodgers tripled. Sarah Kussman forced an error, scoring Rodgers for the game’s first run.
Ireland Bloss drew a walk. Addison Huber slammed a two run double. Gracie Jordan and Jenna Elam followed with run producing hits. Agnes Reel got Chloe Dorrell to ground out to third base.
Sevilla Bussman flew out to right field, scoring another Tiger run. Taylor Walker fielded a short grounder for the final out. Marceline scored six runs on four hits for a 6-0 first inning lead.
Knox County scored their run in the second inning. Bailey Bowen singled with one out in the inning. Savannah Schrage reached base on an error. Jen Hinkle followed a strikeout with an RBI hit. Bailey Bowen scored on the play.
Marceline executed a relay play started by Kennedy Edgar in center field, cutting down a Lady Eagle runner attempting to advance to third base to end the inning.
Daniela Dooley came in to pitch for the Lady Eagles. Dooley induced Cassi Rodgers to ground to Jen Hinkle leading off the Marceline second inning. Sarah Kussman singled. Kussman was later called out for interference on the base paths for the second out.
Ireland Bloss singled. Addison Huber doubled Bloss home for a 7-1 lead after two full innings. Taylor Walker singled with one out in the Knox County third inning. A ground out and a strikeout stranded Walker on second base.
Jenna Elam singled leading off the Marceline third inning. Chloe Dorrell reached on an error. The Lady Eagles threw a runner out at third for the first out of the inning. Daniela Dooley fanned a batter for the second out.
The top half of the potent Marceline batting order took control. Cassi Rodgers hammered a three run homer over the fence. The next seven batters singed in succession. Jenna Elam stroked a two run single in her second at bat of the inning.
Addison Huber delivered an RBI hit. Chloe Dorrell and Sevella Bussman singled. Kennedy Edgar saw a Knox County error scored Dorrell for the game winner. The contest was called by the 15 run rule after three innings.
Marceline claimed the 16-1 victory. The Tigers scored 16 runs on 17 hits and one error. Jenna Elam led Marceline with a 3-3 batting performance with three runs batted in. Addison Huber was 3-3 with two runs scored and four batted in. Cassi Rodgers went 2-3 with two runs scored, a home run and three runs batted in.
Ireland Ross pitched three innings with five strikeouts, no walks on five hits for the win. “We have got a good lineup, up and down, Marceline coach Todd Lowther said. “The girls are capable of putting up big numbers. Now we are getting where everybody is hitting the ball at the same time.”
“Up and down, anybody in our lineup can hurt a team,” Todd Lowther said. “We don’t have to rely on the top four. We have got girls that are 7-8-9 that can hit as well. If we are clicking at the same time, I think we are really tough to beat.”
“At the same time, there are a lot of other teams out there that are definitely going to push us,” Todd Lowther said.
Marceline beat top ranked in Class 2 Fayette by a 5-0 score, winning the Lewis and Clark Conference softball championship in undefeated fashion. The Tigers are top seeded at the Putnam County Class 2 District Tournament.
Knox County scored one run on five hits and three errors. Jen Hinkle was 2-2 with a run batted in. Agnes Reel pitched the first inning and took the loss. Reel faced nine batters, allowing six runs on four hits. Two of the Marceline runs charged to the Eagle starter were unearned.
Daniela Dooley pitched an inning and 2/3 for Knox County. Dooley faced 18 batters, struck out one batter with no walk on 13 hits. Eight of the ten runs charged to the KCHS reliever were earned.
“That is a good team, but we came without one of our starters,” Knox County coach Lauren Dale said. “We have the unfortunate issue with another player who has struggled with illness. The girls did their best.”
“We asked a girl who has been playing first base to play shortstop for us. We had a kid who has not played the infield for weeks play for us,” Lauren Dale said. “They did their best. They did what they could do for us tonight.”
“That is a good team,” Coach Dale said of Marceline. “They hit the ball well and made plays. That’s what they are going to do to you. We didn’t make the plays that we were needing to make.”