DAKOTA – The Amboy Lady Clippers saw their softball season come to a close after suffering a heartbreaking 5-4 loss to Dakota in the championship game of the Dakota Class 1A Sectional on May 27.
Amboy rallied to tie the game with three runs in the top of the seventh only to see Dakota plate the game-winner in the bottom of the frame, ending the Lady Clippers’ season at 23-4.
Dakota got a pair of solo home runs in the early innings and led 4-0 before Amboy finally got on the board with a run in the top of the sixth. Shannon Lytle was safe on an error and she raced home on a ground out by Kylie Highbarger.
Facing a three-run deficit with only one at-bat to go, the Lady Clippers came up huge in the top of the seventh with three big runs to tie the score. Hallie Nauman and Nataly Jones both singled to start the inning, but two straight outs left Amboy with just one more chance at extending the game. That indeed happened when Lytle, Haley Varga and Karlee Doege smacked consecutive singles to miraculously tie the score at 4-4.
But Dakota managed to get a two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh to claim the victory.
Bailee Highbarger suffered the pitching loss in relief of Doege, who worked into the fourth.
The highly-successful careers of eight seniors came to a close for Amboy that saw the group claim four straight regional championships, two sectional crowns and a fourth-place state tournament finish during the 2014 season.
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Amboy made it to the sectional championship game with a hard-earned 3-1 triumph over Pearl City on May 25.
After Pearl City got a leadoff home run to grab a quick 1-0 lead, Doege settled down and blanked the Lady Wolves the rest of the way. And the Lady Clippers’ offense scored just enough to squeak out the win.
Emma Lindemeyer singled to begin the third inning and went to third base when Nauman was safe on an error. Nataly Jones then sent a fly ball to center field that allowed Lindenmeyer to sprint home with the tying run.
Amboy went on top for good in the fifth when Nauman ripped a home run over the left field fence.
The Lady Clippers added another run in the sixth when Doege laced a single to drive in Delaney Wilhelm.
Doege went the distance in the circle, allowing just four hits and striking out eight.