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Dock leads Kelly to district softball crown
The senior tossed two complete games Tuesday as the Hawks advanced to today's sectional round
PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Kelly pitcher Danielle Dock couldn't appreciate her performance in Tuesday's Class 2 District 2 title game.
She felt she'd lost some velocity from the semifinal earlier in the day. She felt she didn't hit enough of her spots.
The results didn't match Dock's assessment.
The senior pitcher struck out 16 Festus St. Pius batters in the Hawks' 5-1 victory.
"I was just hoping I'd hit my spots because I didn't hit them that great in the first game," Dock said. "I don't know what was wrong. It was probably from not being out on the field for a week or so."
It was the Hawks' eighth consecutive district crown and 23rd in 24 years.
"They never get old, never," Kelly coach Rhonda Ratledge said.
Dock tossed 14 innings Tuesday and likely will be called upon to start for the Hawks in today's sectional game against East Carter (10-8). She didn't plan to do anything special overnight for her arm.
"I do my stretches for my arm and then I ice," she said. "That's about all I do. I've played like 60 games this summer and we pitch every day. We throw about 70 to 100 pitches every day. It doesn't really affect me. It will probably be a little sore tomorrow because it's colder."
Even with the extended workload of throwing 14 innings Tuesday, she didn't eat anything special for added energy. She joked that the school lunches were her secret weapon.
"I try not to eat as much because I don't like letting the nerves get to me," she said. "Once we hit the field, it comes natural again. It's always that pre-game, right before the game it always gets to me. Once I get out here, it just goes away. It's just every game."
Pius struggled to catch up to Dock's heater. She kept working the outside corner, and the Pius hitters took scores of late hacks.
"If they are behind, I try to go inside so it will be harder for them to catch up," she said. "If they're getting quick around, I try going out so it throws them off. I try to throw them off."
The Lancers' lone run came in the third when Tori Aubuchon tripled and scored on a throwing error. It was one of three hits that Dock surrendered.
"I was kind of mad that I threw that pitch," Dock said. "It was supposed to be outside and it went right down the middle and she got ahold of it. We were hitting her the first two innings, so I knew we'd be putting the ball in play."
The Hawks made the most of their chances. They were aggressive on the basepaths and took advantage of three Lancers errors. Dock was involved in giving the Hawks the lead. Londyn Backfisch evened the score at 1-1 when she tripled home Emily Grojean. Dock tried to squeeze home Backfisch, but missed the ball. Backfisch barely scurried back to the base before being tagged. Backfisch raced home on the next pitch, which hit the dirt and kicked away from the catcher.
"I felt bad," Dock said. "I apologized. I always try to get my squeezes down. But she ended up getting in."
Kelly added some insurance in the fifth with Dock at the plate and Kristen Powell on second. Dock took ball four as Powell tried to steal third. Dock never stopped at first and the throw from the third baseman got away from the second baseman, allowing Powell to score and Dock to take third. That's the kind of pressure the Hawks put on the Lancers for most of the game.
"We practice that every day," Dock said. "You're always trying to get the next base, always, always, always. We're always looking ahead when we're doing the rounding with bunts. We're always trying to do that. That's what helps us -- they make errors and we're able to score."
That aggressive baserunning paid off in the fourth when Haley Glastetter went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt.
"Several girls had good bunts to move runners and that's what it took, a couple of those, a couple stolen bases and executing on the errors and having good baserunning," Ratledge said. "That's exactly what we had today."
And with Dock on the mound, the Hawks never were threatened after gaining the lead in the third. Pius had runners at second and third with two outs in the sixth, but Dock recorded a strikeout to extinguish the threat.
"She stayed focused and stayed zoned," Ratledge said of Dock. "She didn't let a wild pitch or a passed ball or something get to her. We've been talking about that all week."
WP -- Danielle Dock. LP -- Holly Magre. 3B -- Tori Aubuchon (P), Londyn Backfisch (K). Multiple hits -- Pius: Aubuchon 2-3; Kelly: Emily Grojean 2-3. Records -- Kelly 19-9.