FRENCHTOWN – The Class A state softball title was decided on Saturday afternoon.
Top-seeded Belgrade flexed its muscles against Hamilton early, with Lanie Morgan doubling to centerfield in the first inning, scoring Kamie Gorrell for a 1-0 Panther lead. Kenna Thomas added another run in the bottom of the second inning, scoring on a passed ball.
Ty Atwood pushed the lead to 3-0 in the third inning, also scoring on a passed ball, before Hamilton found the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Abby Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Kelsie Meis to score from third.
But the Panthers brought the lead back to three in the bottom half, when Katie Hoppe’s grounder drew a fielding error from the Broncs, Khiala Rollins time to score. Belgrade led 4-1 after the first four innings.
The Panthers saw their record-setting home run pace continue in the fifth, with Heather Gier driving a two-run home run over the centerfield wall, with Atwood on base. After Hamilton picked up a run in the top of the sixth, tagging up on a fly ball, Hoppe added Belgrade’s second home run of the afternoon, a fifth-pitch solo shot to centerfield.
Neither team scored the rest of the way.
Erin Elgas hurled all seven innings for Belgrade, striking out eight, walking only two and giving up a single earned run.