SPRINGFIELD - The South Callaway Lady Bulldogs will get the chance to play for their first state softball title in school history after blanking Kelly 2-0 in the Class 2 semifinals Friday morning at the Killian Softball Complex.
South Callaway (24-4) will square off against (St. Joseph) Bishop LeBlond (25-3) for the Class 2 title at 10 a.m. Saturday. Bishop LeBlond advanced with a 9-1 victory over Marionville in Friday morning's other semifinal.
Senior starter Abby Bartley threw a complete game to pick up the win for the Lady Bulldogs, shutting out Kelly (19-8) on six hits. Bartley (21-4) struck out three and walked one.
South Callaway prevailed despite managing just two hits off Lady Hawks sophomore starter Alexis Dock. The Lady Bulldogs capitalized on five Kelly errors in the first two innings, three by junior third baseman Samantha Ratledge, and tallied unearned runs in both the first and second.
Senior third baseman Karli Leeper started the bottom of the first for South Callaway by reaching on a Ratledge error and advancing to second on the play. Leeper moved to third on senior shortstop Bailey Ward's sacrifice bunt and then scored on Bartley's groundout to third.
Junior second baseman Paige Brown beat out an infield single with one out in the second for the Lady Bulldogs. Junior center fielder Hannah Oberdiek - attempting to sacrifice Brown to second - was safe on an error by Dock. Brown came all the way around to score on the play, making it 2-0, when Ratledge committed another error.
Bartley - who had South Callaway's only other hit on a leadoff single in the third - made the lead stand up the rest of the way, sending the Lady Bulldogs to the state championship for the first time.
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Editor's note: Watch for complete coverage of Saturday's Class 2 state championship in Sunday's edition.