Seven-run sixth inning gives Belle’s Lady Tigers third-place hardware from Montgomery County

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 8/31/22

MONTGOMERY CITY — No matter whether it is softball or baseball, walks can either hurt or help a team.

In the third-place game of the Montgomery County Fall Classic Softball Tournament …

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Seven-run sixth inning gives Belle’s Lady Tigers third-place hardware from Montgomery County

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MONTGOMERY CITY — No matter whether it is softball or baseball, walks can either hurt or help a team.

In the third-place game of the Montgomery County Fall Classic Softball Tournament against the host Lady Wildcats, it was the latter for Randis Sanders’ Belle Lady Tigers.

Tied at 3-3 entering the top of the sixth inning,  Belle turned five walks and four hits into a seven-run frame to take a comfortable 10-3 lead late in the game.

In spite of allowing two runs by Montgomery County in the bottom of the seventh inning, Lady Tiger hurler Emma White used a strikeout and a ground out to cap a 12-5 victory sending Belle back to Maries County with the third-place plaque.

“I’m proud of how our girls kept battling all day and never giving up,” Sanders said. “When we fell behind 3-2 against Montgomery County, we were able to tie it back up in the top of the fourth before we took advantage of five walks in the top of the sixth inning.”

Serving as the visiting team against Montgomery County, Belle struck first against the host Lady Wildcats.

Freshman Aubrey Rehmert delivered a lead off single before later scoring on an error to get the Lady Tigers on the board.

Montgomery County tied it with one swing on a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning knotting the game at 1-1 after one.

Following a scoreless second inning, Belle retook the lead in the top of the third inning.

Ryleigh Long started the frame with a single before an Emma White ground out and a Nevaeh Kinsey single advanced her to third base.

Dakota Butcher then delivered an RBI ground out to put Belle back on top 2-1 moving to the bottom of the third inning.

Turning two walks, an error and a double into two runs, the host Lady Wildcats reclaimed the lead at 3-2 after three innings.

Belle once again answered in the top of the fourth inning.

Ileana Sullinger doubled to center field leading the inning off before a Tajel McDaniel sacrifice bunt allowed her to move to third base.

Recording her third single in as many at bats, Rehmert drove in Sullinger to knot the game at 3-3 at the halfway point.

In the bottom of the fourth, Montgomery County loaded the bases with one out only to see a pitcher’s best friend enter the game.

Maddy Queathem hit a line drive that was caught by Rehmert who then fired it to Kinsey covering third base for an inning-ending 6-5 double play keeping the game tied at 3-3 moving to the top of the fifth inning.

After a scoreless fifth, Belle looked to break the tie in the top of the sixth inning.

Miranda Sanders took four straight balls to draw a leadoff walk before advancing to second base on a wild pitch. Sullinger followed with a single to put runners on the corners at first and third base.

Rachel Baretich then pinch hit for McDaniel drawing a walk to load the bases before assistant coach Butch Gehlert re-entered McDaniel to run the base paths.

Rehmert drew Belle’s third walk of the inning allowing Sanders to score for a 4-3 Lady Tiger lead.

Catcher Natalie Gehlert helped her battery mate with a two-RBI single scoring Sullinger and McDaniel pushing Belle’s lead to 6-3.

A Long walk and a White single loaded the bases with two outs for Butcher.

Already with a RBI ground out to her credit, Butcher delivered the hit of the game with a bases-clearing double to center field allowing Gehlert, Long and White to score bumping the Lady Tiger advantage to 9-3.

Butcher ended the seven-run sixth inning stealing home to give Belle a 10-3 lead with six outs between them and third-place hardware.

White delivered a scoreless bottom of the sixth before a Long two-RBI double scoring McDaniel and Gehlert ballooned the Lady Tiger lead to 12-3.

Allowing five runs (two earned) on 11 hits, five walks and three strikeouts, White earned the win for the Lady Tigers in the pitching circle.

Rehmert, Sullinger and Long led the Belle offense with three hits apiece.

Butcher recorded a team-high four RBIs with her one hit being a  bases-clearing double as part of Belle’s seven-run sixth inning.

Crossing the plate twice for the Lady Tigers against Montgomery County were Gehlert, Long, Sullinger and McDaniel.

Before their third-place victory, Belle took on Russellville’s Lady Indians with a spot in the championship game on the line.

Taking an early 1-0 lead, Belle saw that advantage disappear in the second and third innings thanks to four errors that led to all four of Russellville’s runs in a 4-1 loss to the Lady Indians.

Back-to-back doubles from Long and Gehlert led to Belle’s lone run of the game in the top of the first inning for a quick 1-0 lead.

Two walks and a single from Russellville allowed the Lady Indians to tie the game at 1-1 after one inning.

Unable to establish an offensive rhythm against Russellville, Belle had to settle for a shot at third-place hardware.

Opening the tournament against St. Clair’s Lady Bulldogs, Long nearly hit for the cycle (a single, double, triple and a home run in the same game) in Belle’s 15-0 victory over St. Clair in three innings.

Missing it by a home run, Long hit a single and a triple in the first inning before connecting for a double in the second inning.

Rehmert nearly marked her high school softball debut Friday night against Richland’s Lady Bears by hitting for the cycle.

Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, Rehmert singled and scored before White helped her cause with a three-run home run as part of a seven-run second inning leading to a 12-5 victory.

Rehmert went on to triple and score in the third inning before hitting her first varsity home run in the fifth inning.

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