The last three seasons have been a roller coaster ride for the Norwood Lady Pirates softball program.
After winning a district title in 2019, Norwood’s young program was just 13-21 through a fall and spring season.
Players were looking for a way to leave their own impact on the diamond for the Lady Pirates.
This fall, things were looking bleak as the team started with a 1-6 record after being outscored 59-27.
Then a 15-0 win over large school Parkview led to a three game winning streak. Slowly but surely, the Lady Pirates’ players were building something special.
Norwood’s end of the season charge was good enough to earn them a No. 2 seed in last week’s Class 1, District 2 tournament.
After scoring more than 10 runs in just two games this season, the Lady Pirates did so in back-to-back district games.
They beat Stoutland, 15-14, and followed that with a win over rival Dora, 11-10, to complete their special run to the district championship.
“Four weeks ago today (as of Oct. 16, at the Bakersfield Tournament) we started to turn things around, and we have won nine of our last 13 games,” said Norwood head coach Lori Drake.
“We have a veteran player in our lone senior, Cassie Chadwell, and three juniors with some varsity experience (Annie Sullivan, Catelin Campbell and Kylee Bradshaw), but most of our team is composed of young players still learning and developing. We played a ton of games in June to gain experience and prepare for the fall season. It was a rough start, but they accepted every challenge we put in front of them and chose to get better. They are great kids too. All around winners, on and off the field.”
In the championship game, the big hit came when Hailey Hall blasted a grand slam. Chadwell added three RBIs and Annie Sullivan had one RBI and one run scored.
Catelin Campbell went 3-for-4 with three runs scored. On the mound, Chadwell worked her change-up over seven innings and allowed eight earned runs while striking out six.
In the semifinals, Sullivan had a solo home run and scored twice. Cadence Jarrett, Kinley Sinning and Autumn Gunter each had two RBIs and two runs scored. Chadwell struck out five over seven innings.
She gave up six earned runs on 17 hits.
Next up for the Lady Pirates is a State Sectionals match-up with a 20-9 East Carter Lady Redbirds program on Friday, Oct. 23 in Ellsinore.
Ellsinore is past Van Buren going east on Highway 60 towards Poplar Bluff.
No start time had been given to the Wednesday contest as of press time.
A win would move the Lady Pirates into the state quarterfinals for an Oct. 23 game against the winner of Marion C. Early and Leeton.
The location and time for the State Sectionals contest have yet to be determined.
Before the district tournament, the Norwood Lady Pirates lost their regular season finale to Alton, 12-6.
It was a disappointing loss to a Lady Comets team who ended the season with a 3-12 record.
Norwood also had a 13-0 loss to the West Plains Lady Zizzers.
(No statistics were provided for the contests.)
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