Lady Dees fall short in 3A state softball opener

Albia pitcher Jena Lawrence (24) delivers to the plate during softball action for the Lady Dees.

ALBIA — On the same diamond where they have celebrated a pair of regional championships, the Albia softball team made a little bit more program history on Thursday night.

For the first time in program history, the Lady Dees took the field as the top-ranked team in the state. Class 3A’s newest No. 1 edged out Wayne, ranked fifth in 1A, 2-1 on a two-run triple by Lauren Bayer in the very first innnig.

“We beat a really solid team,” Albia co-head softball coach Jani Dorpinghaus said. “We’ve beaten some pretty big teams this season. This team has been on a mission this season. This is just another step in accomplishing that mission.”

Albia was right back on the diamond Friday battling for the top record in the South Central Conference against Clarke. The Lady Dees clinched a perfect run to the SCC title, going 6-0 in conference play with a 6-0 shutout of the Indians.

Albia opens postseason play at home on Wednesday against Chariton. The Lady Dees are not only looking to not only to advance to the state tournament for the fourth straight year, but do so for the first time as the top-ranked team in the state.

Jena Lawrence picked up both wins for the Lady Dees (16-1), striking out 13 Wayne batters over seven innings while allowing just one unearned run on two hits and one walk. Bayer helped secure the Albia’s first win as 3A’s top-ranked team in the seventh with a tough play at short to open the inning before Lawrence retired the next two Wayne batters on strikes.

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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