SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Oak Grove softball team will play for its first state title in program history.
The Panthers scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 5-5 deadlock and claim an 8-5 win over Hillsboro in a Class 3 state semifinal Friday morning at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield.
Bailee Martin hit an RBI single to score Hailee Hodges with the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. Sadie Loney, who earned the victory in the circle, then smacked a two-run double to score Martin and Cheyenne Minnick with the final two runs.
Loney then closed out a complete-game victory in the top of the seventh, working around a pair of Hillsboro singles to send the Panthers (24-3) into Saturday’s 10 a.m. state championship game against the Mexico Bulldogs (26-4).
Loney allowed nine hits and one walk while striking out five for the win.
Oak Grove took a 2-0 lead in the first when Martin hit an RBI double and scored on a Lilli Weir RBI single.
The Panthers went up 4-2 in the fourth with a pair of runs. Summer Collier reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch, and Tomi Lightle walked and scored on an error.
Kelsey Webb’s RBI single gave Oak Grove a 5-2 lead in the fifth but Hillsboro (21-10) scored three runs in the top of the sixth on a Makayla Stokes RBI single and a Jensen Knudtson two-run double to tie it.
Martin, Loney, Weir and Madison Coone each had two hits for Oak Grove.