One softball team from Crawford County is guaranteed to win a regional championship, as Hutsonville-Palestine ensured a county showdown with a 5-0 win over Dieterich in the semifinals of the Class 1A Dieterich Regional Wednesday.
The Lady Tigers joined rival Oblong in the title game after the Lady Panthers won their semifinal game over Red Hill by the same 5-0 score on Tuesday.
In Wednesday's semifinal, Hutsonville-Palestine jumped on top early, scoring twice in the first inning and they were never threatened. Erikka Patterson tripled with one out, then scored on a wild pitch for the first run of the game. Later in the inning, Kiley Rariden delivered a run-scoring double to plate Katie Williams, who had reached on an error, to make the score 2-0.
Hutsonville-Palestine struck for two more runs in the third inning. Leslie Churchwell led off the inning with a single, then Calee Fulling reached on a bunt single and Patterson walked to load the bases. After Churchwell was forced at home on a fielder's choice by Williams, Fulling was able to score on a sacrifice fly by Halen Revalee, then Patterson would score again on a wild pitch to give the Lady Tigers a 4-0 lead.
The Lady Tigers would tack on another run in the fifth, as Taci Newlin was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Fulling's two-out single.
That run support was more than enough for Fulling, who was nearly unhittable on the mound. She allowed just two hits and walked one, while striking out two over seven innings to earn the complete-game victory.
Fulling also led Hutsonville-Palestine at the plate with three singles, a run batted in and a run scored, while Patterson tripled and scored two runs. Rariden posted a double and a run batted in, Churchwell added a single, Revalee drove in a run and Williams scored a run.
Hutsonville-Palestine (11-16) will play Oblong in the championship game of the IHSA Class 1A Dieterich Regional Saturday at 10 a.m.
It will be the third meeting of the season between the two squads, with each team winning once in the previous two games. Hutsonville-Palestine won 5-1 at Hutsonville April 22, while Oblong picked up an 11-3 win in the annual Shrine Game at Oblong April 30.