Friday, January 24, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

No. 7 Eagles rally at district tourney


GLENDIVE, Mont. - The Kirkwood softball team has been living  dangerously in postseason tournaments this year, but so far the Eagles  are still alive and kicking.

The seventh-ranked Eagles rallied to split two games with 18th-ranked  Dawson on Wednesday and will face the Bucs again on Thursday in the  championship game of the district tournament in Montana.

Kirkwood (49-15) and Dawson (43-4) will tangle on Dawson's home field  Thursday at 1 p.m., with the winner claiming a spot in the NJCAA  Division II national championships.

Dawson blanked the Eagles, 1-0, in the first game Wednesday in the  best-of-3 district tournament. The Bucs then held a 3-2 lead over the  Eagles after three innings of the second game, putting Kirkwood on the  verge of elimination, but Kirkwood's bats came alive and the Eagles  soared to a 12-3 victory to force Game 3.

Kirkwood also had to rally in the regional tournament against NIACC  last weekend after losing to NIACC in the winners bracket final, then  whipping NIACC twice in the championship round.

Dawson scored in the top of the first inning of the first game  Wednesday for a 1-0 lead, and that turned out to be all the scoring in  the ballgame as Kirkwood collected only five hits. Kirkwood pitcher  Erin Hocker, playing in her home state of Wyoming, allowed one run on  seven hits and was the tough-luck loser.

Bradee Bouman pitched the first four innings of the second game for  the Eagles and left with a 5-3 lead after Kirkwood erupted for three  runs in the top of the fourth. Hocker relieved Bouman and tossed the  final three innings, allowing no runs on one hit for her second save.

The Kirkwood offense erupted just in time with three runs in the  fourth inning, four runs in the fifth, and three more runs in the  sixth inning for their 12-3 advantage.

Sydney Albaugh went 3-for-5 in Game 2 and drove in three runs. Shelby  Hulsebus was 3-for-4, scored three times and had two stolen bases.  Jayme Finn was 3-for-5 with a homer and scored twice. London Jackson  belted her 21st homer and drove in three runs. Jessi Butler hit a  two-run homer. Rachel Stewart scored three runs and Lauren Kuch had  two hits.


Dawson     100 000 0 - 1 7 x
Kirkwood   000 000 0 - 0 5 0

Hocker and Butler. L - Hocker (26-9). 2B - Stewart. SB - Hulsebus.


Kirkwood   110 343 0 - 12 15 2
Dawson     012 000 0 - 3 5 x

Bouman, Hocker (5) and Barthelman, Butler (5). W - Bouman (21-6). S -  Hocker (2). 2B - Finn. HR - Jackson, Finn, Butler. RBI - Hulsebus,  Jackson 3, Albaugh 3, Finn, Butler 2.


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