It Only Took Four Years

    One full length softball game consists of 21 outs for a team. As long as you score one time, all you have to focus on is 21 outs. The DeKalb High School Softball Team has been trying to come on top after these 21 outs in the conference championship for four years, and they finally made it happen this year. 

    Softball is a crazy game; you never know what is going to happen. The Lady Tigers realized this during their week leading up to the conference title game. They started off the week by playing a doubleheader against Jefferson. This shouldn’t have been the case, but weather pushed the games back and playing two in one night was the only choice. Unfortunately, the Tigers fell short the first game, but the second game was different. All the girls had a different energy, and they were ready to play. In the sixth inning, the Ladies were up 7-5 when the umpire called time. “Everyone to the dugouts for a lightning delay,” he said. The ladies left the field and the game ended up getting suspended until a later date. 

    The later date was the next week, the same day that the Lady Tigers had to play another conference game. They loaded up the bus and headed to Jefferson to finish the suspended game; the score was still 7-5. Starting a game in the 6th inning is very stressful and some of the girls found this out. Pitcher, Ashton Crockett was one player that really felt stress while out on the mound. When asked what was going through her mind during the game, she said, “We can’t lose, and if I mess this up we are screwed.” She was very determined to help the team win the rest of this game. 

    The Lady Tigers got the first three outs of the sixth inning and headed back to the dugout to try and score some more runs. Base runners got on, but the Tigers did not end up scoring. It was the bottom of the seventh. Three outs and the Tigers would be that much closer to being conference champs. Jefferson came up to bat and they scored a run, but the Tigers had two outs. The ball was hit to sophomore Macy Dittemore at first base, she fielded the ball and got the out at first. The Lady Tigers won!

    They got back on the bus and drove down the road to Northeast Nodaway High School to finish what they started. This game was the deciding factor on whether or not they won the conference. The Tigers had played the Blue Jays before, and they were ready to beat them for a second time. 

    Seven innings went by and the Lady Tigers were ahead 8-0. The bottom of the seventh brought three quick outs for the ladies and they won. The Tigers are conference champs! Head coach Aaron Matthews said, “It was pretty sweet not going to lie. It was a crazy week leading up to the game, and keeping focused was kind of a struggle, but it all worked out in the end, and it was definitely worth it.” 

    Most of the starters for the Lady Tigers are pretty young. Seniors Madi Dittemore and Baylee Knorr have been on varsity for all four years and have been longing for this moment for a long time. It was bittersweet when they finally got to experience being champs. Madi was asked why this year was different than in the past few years and what the next steps are for the team. She said it was different because “I had a different outlook on the season, being a senior, and our next steps should be to forget what has happened and move forward. Next stop DISTRICT CHAMPS!!” 

    The ladies worked very hard leading up to this moment and will continue to work for the rest of the season. For the seniors, they are leaving everything on the field; they are playing their hearts out. For the players that will be back, they are all focused on this year, but looking to the future as well. Sophomore Ashton Crockett said that to secure the conference title in the future, they will “work hard, and make sure no one is slacking off.” The Lady Tigers are definitely determined to win the title again.