One step left on Jeeps' path to championship

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Northeast Dubois’ Alexus Royer, left, taught a dance to Mia Smith in the dugout during Tuesday’s sectional softball game in Dubois. Northeast Dubois defeated Cannelton 23-0 in five innings to advance to tonight’s sectional championship game against Wood Memorial at 6:30 p.m. The Jeeps defeated the Trojans 13-3 in six innings earlier in the year. For more photos from the game, click here.



DUBOIS — When the Northeast Dubois softball team found out that they were hosting their sectional, the Jeeps were ecstatic — especially the seniors, who knew that their last possible game on the field they grew up playing youth softball on could host their first sectional championship since 2006.

The Jeeps got step one out of the way on Tuesday night as they defeated Cannelton 23-0 in five innings in the sectional semifinal to advance to tonight’s championship showdown against Wood Memorial at 6:30 p.m. The Trojans defeated Springs Valley 8-0 to advance to the finals.

“When Tecumseh used to be in the sectional, it’s no lie that we used to go into our sectional thinking that we were the underdog and that we might not have a chance to win but I think this time is different,” senior Clare Mangin said. “This time, we feel in control and we feel that if we put our minds to it then we can do it.”

All 19 girls on the Northeast Dubois roster saw action in the victory with several different players contributing to the scoring column.

The Jeeps (15-8) got their offense going right away as eight runs crossed home plate in the first inning. Brooklyn Dodd and Mackenzie Zehr kicked things off with singles, Becca Brosmer drove in two runs on a single while Macie Brinkman, Elizabeth Kunz and Dodd all also had RBIs in the inning as the Jeeps batted around to start the game.

Jeeps fans Mary Sendelweck and her grandson Dax Smith, 9, both of Dubois, watched the action from the bed of their truck. "It's better than the bleachers," Mary said. Dax's sister, Mia, plays on the team and their father, Eric, helps coach.  For more photos from the game, click here.

Northeast Dubois added five more runs in the second inning as Kyndal Green and Courtney Weisheit drove in the first runs on a walk and a groundout and then Kunz’s RBI double and Dodd’s two-RBI triple helped push the Jeeps up 13-0 after two.

Scoring wise, the Jeeps biggest inning would come in the third as nine runs crossed home plate with RBIs coming from Green, Weisheit, Kunz, Haley Reckelhoff, Madison Voegerl, Camryn Stemle, Addison Kirchoff and a two-RBI double from Mangin. The Jepes final run came in the fourth inning off of Mia Smith’s RBI single.

“We all feel good right now. The girls all came into tonight with a real good attitude today and we’ll start that over tomorrow when we prepare for the championship,” Jeep head coach Dion Terwiske said. “We’re all excited to be where we’re at but we just have to make sure that we play our game.”

The Jeeps were happy to see Clare Mangin back on the field as she missed the Jeeps final game of the regular season against Perry Central due to pains in her hip. Mangin started the game at third base and pitched the final two innings against the Bulldogs as she prepares for her start in tonight’s championship game against the Trojans.

Mangin knows that her and her team will have to play in tip-top shape if they want to bring home their first sectional trophy in 12 years. The Jeeps defeated Wood Memorial 13-3 in six innings earlier this season but the Trojans got to Mangin for a few runs which she remember swell.

“My hip feels great, I don’t feel any pain at all so I’m all ready to go for (tonight),” Mangin said. “Wood Memorial is a good hitting team and I know they got a couple of home runs off of me earlier this season so I know I’ll have to pitch my best game and do my best to come out with a good mental attitude and hopefully a win.”

Terwiske added, “(Mangin) was just hoping to get a little live action on the mound tonight. I thought she looked good and she said she feels 100 percent and that she’s not feeling any negative effects right now.”

While Mangin doesn’t necessarily want to think about the fact that she won’t be playing on her childhood field anymore after tonight, she has a chance to end it the best way she could’ve ever dreamed as a little kid playing softball on the diamond late into the evenings — hoisting a sectional championship trophy.

“It’s kind of surreal knowing that I’m playing my last game on this field (tonight) and it kind of motivates us seniors that much more and I think it makes everyone else around us more motivated too,” Mangin said. “A sectional championship is something that we’ve been chasing for 12 years so I think if we come out with the right mindset and play our hearts out, we’ll be good.”

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