Jeeps get revenge, win sectional championship

 

Photos by Traci Westcott/The Herald
Northeast Dubois' Courtney Weisheit, right, cheers with the rest of her team after winning Tuesday's Class 1A softball championship game in Oakland City. Northeast Dubois defeated Wood Memorial 8-6 for the team's first sectional title since 2006 and just their second overall crown in school history. For more photos from the sectional championship game, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

 

OAKLAND CITY — Everyone was on the edge of their seats in the top of the seventh inning.

The Northeast Dubois Jeeps were working with an 8-4 lead and only needed three more outs to win not only the game, but the sectional title. Wood Memorial freshman right fielder Hannah Deisher entered the batter’s box and promptly hit into a play at first base for the first out. Next up was senior left fielder Bailee Speicher who hit a pop-up right to senior starting pitcher Camryn Stemle. Two down, one to go.

But junior catcher Khloye Strickland fought back against the coming tide, scoring a standing double. The crowd could only wait with their hearts in their throats as that last out evaded them. Then sophomore hitters Bridget Reel and LeeAnn Melton claimed consecutive RBI hits causing Jeep fans to tighten up with anxiety.

However the players on the field did not panic. They simply reset their minds to the task of getting that last out. And in doing so, senior shortstop Brooklyn Dodd collected the grounder from Peyton Shoultz’s bat, turned to the corner, and completed the throw to junior first baseman Macie Brinkman to collect the final out and end the game as the Jeeps fans erupted in wild celebration. The Jeeps won their second ever sectional championship; their first title came in 2006.

“This is probably one of the best feelings I’ve felt in my entire life,” said Dodd. “This game was (the) icing on the cake. We played good all season, and to come together in the end and play the way we played makes my heart (jump).”

“It’s something you always dream of but making it happen is crazy,” said Stemle. “We worked four years for this. Us three seniors started as soon as Dion (Terwiske) was the first-year coach here at Dubois. We ended and finally got him a sectional win, it feels great.”

Terwiske said the bottom of his batting order was where the team shined tonight as they got out to a fast start and never looked back. He highlighted the seniors that started with him when he took the helm for the Jeeps (14-9-1) and was especially happy to see that they can add a sectional championship to their accomplishments.

“Been a lot of hard work and they deserve it,” said Terwiske. “They’ve been through the ups and downs and it’s good to get them a sectional victory.”

Both teams went scoreless to start the game, but the Jeeps drew first blood in the bottom of the second. With one out and bases loaded freshman center fielder Brinley Royer made contact with sophomore starting pitcher Taylor McKannan that sent in sophomore right fielder Alexus Royer and senior second baseman Elizabeth Kunz for the Jeeps’ first two runs.

But the Trojans fired back in the third. With two outs and bases loaded Melton belted a double to a gap in center field that scored Deisher and junior courtesy runner Briana Welborn to tie the game at 2-2. However, the Jeeps quickly regained the lead in the bottom of the third with RBI singles from Brinkman and freshman let fielder Hailey Carie which produced three runs and a 5-2 lead with three innings in the books.

The Trojans again used a two-run outing to get themselves back in the game. Freshman shortstop Aubree Speicher came up with a base hit and a plunking for senior third baseman Chloe Mowery put runners on first and second. Then Deisher came up with a double to score Spiecher and McKannan singled to drive in Mowery to make it a one-run game.

Northeast Dubois' Hailey Carie bats during Tuesday's Class 1A softball sectional championship in Oakland City. Throughout the season, the Jeeps have had support from everyone up and down the roster — it's one of the main reasons why Northeast Dubois was able to come away with a sectional championship. For more photos from the sectional championship game, click here.

The Jeeps used an RBI from Carie to give themselves a cushion, but they didn’t truly get out of the Trojan’s reach until the sixth inning. With two outs and Stemle and Fuhrman on base thanks to back-to-back hits, Brinkman delivered the final big swing the team needed in the form of two-run double. Stemle and Fuhrman would clear the bases and the rest would be history as the Jeeps went on to win it 8-6.

Stemle pitched seven innings and finished with six hits for six runs (one earned), one walk, and a strikeout. Brinkman went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, while Fuhrman also had three hits. Carie finished 1-for-3 with two driven in.

McKannan pitched six innings with 13 hits for eight runs (four earned), and one strikeout. Melton finished 1-for-4 with two RBI. Deisher and McKannan each also drove in a run.

The win not only capped off a season of hills, valleys, and injuries for the team, but it was made all the sweeter because it came against the same opponent that kept them from the title last season, when the Trojans defeated the Jeeps 7-2 at home. This season the Jeeps were more than happy to return the favor.

“It feels great because they beat us at our place last year,” said Kunz.

“Last year we came in way too cocky. This year we knew we were going to have to work our butts off,” added Brinkman. “It was amazing because they beat us on our home field, and we came and beat them on theirs. It was great revenge.”

But now that old scores have been settled the Jeeps have to focus on the regional tournament as they’ll be revisiting another old foe in the form of the Loogootee Lions. The Jeeps lost a close 3-2 game against the Lions when they met on April 23, but they’re ready to give it another swing and see if they can come out with a different result.

“A lot of us get in our heads a lot so we have to keep the nerves out,” said Kunz. “We can play ball, we’re good. So if we keep playing our game I think we can get a regional (title).”




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