Week's softball games were privilege to watch

Monday, October 19, 2009

I haven't covered much high school softball in recent years, but I had the privilege to follow Notre Dame and Kelly last week for playoff games.

And what a privilege it was because those are annually two of the premier programs in the state. They also rank among the area's top programs for any sport.

First I traveled to Poplar Bluff for Wednesday's Class 2 sectional between Kelly and East Carter County.

It was the Danielle Dock show as Kelly's senior pitcher continued her domination with a three-hit, 14-strikeout shutout in a 3-0 victory.

Then I made the trek to St. Louis for Saturday's quarterfinals at the Ballwin Athletic Association, with Kelly taking on Belle and Class 3 Notre Dame facing Kennedy.

Dock again was strong, but it wasn't quite enough as Belle squeezed out a 1-0 win to end Kelly's run of three straight final fours.

But Lauren Reinagel was not to be denied as the senior hurler fired a three-hitter during Notre Dame's 6-0 triumph that sends the Bulldogs to their third consecutive final four.

Notre Dame will shoot for its first state title after the Bulldogs lost in last year's championship game.

Here's wishing the Bulldogs all the best as they chase their dream.

The Southeast Missouri State football team, after its bye week, will begin the unofficial second half of its season.

Southeast, 1-5 overall and 0-4 in Ohio Valley Conference play, will attempt to break a five-game losing streak Saturday at improved Tennessee Tech (3-3, 2-2).

While Southeast won't be favored at Tech, the Redhawks should have a legitimate shot to win. And they really need to if they hope to salvage anything out of this year.

The Redhawks visit Eastern Kentucky the following week before ending the season with three straight home games.

A person I know who was jokingly trying to make the Southeast football season seem a bit less tough to take pointed out an interesting tidbit.

The Redhawks have as many wins as Central, Jackson, the Rams and Chiefs combined.

Sad, but true, if you follow any of those four squads because three have yet to taste victory in 2009 -- and the Chiefs only notched their first win Sunday.

I thought last week represented a solid chance for both Central and Jackson to finally break into the win column. It didn't happen as district play began around the state.

Jackson came close, losing to Eureka 7-0. Central didn't come close, falling to Summit 31-10.

The bottom line is that the area's two biggest schools are now each 0-8 with two weeks left in the regular season, including their annual matchup in the finale.

But, after covering Thursday's Central-Summit game -- and coming away not very impressed with either side -- I predict that Jackson will beat both teams in its last two games to make the playoffs.

I admit it's a fairly shaky pick, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

With college basketball practice officially starting last week, I took in one of the sessions by the Southeast men's team.

Hard to tell this early just how much the Redhawks will be improved from last year's 3-27 debacle, but they've got a full roster, some solid athletes and an upbeat, energetic new coaching staff led by Dickey Nutt.

That's at least a start.

Marty Mishow is a sports writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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