ODIN — Altamont usually doesn’t need offensive outburts when Deidre Ledbetter is in the pitcher’s circle.
One certainly wasn’t neccesary in the Lady Indians’ season-opener back in March, as Ledbetter tossed a one-hitter in Altamont’s 6-0 win against Edwards County.
But it was a different story against the same team Wednesday in the Class 1A Odin Sectional semifinal, as Ledbetter didn’t have her best stuff and the Lions brought their hitting shoes this time around.
Fortunately for coach John Niebrugge and company, the Lady Indians’ offense was up to the task.
Altamont drilled out 18 hits against Edwards County pitcher Chelsea Dallas — including three inside-the-park homers — and outslugged the Lions 16-9. Altamont (19-3) advances to Saturday’s 11 a.m. title game against the winner of today’s Wayne City/Okawville semifinal.
“We don’t normally expect Deidre to pitch that way,” said Niebrugge of his ace, who gave up nine runs on nine hits, including three inside-the-park homers on Odin’s spacious field. “She had a little stomach ache. But, you know, you know you have a true team when somebody doesn’t have it and we can pick them up.”
Everyone in Altamont’s lineup picked up the slack on Wednesday — quite literally — as all nine of Niebrugge’s starters had at least one hit.
Josie Phillips set the tone for a day dominated by offense with a two-run homer in the first, staking the Lady Indians to a quick 2-0 lead. Ledbetter’s two-run homer in the second highlighted a four-run outburst, as Altamont looked poised to cruise, enjoying a 6-0 cushion. The Lady Indians were firing on all cylinders at that point.
“I think it helped our energy level,” first baseman Lauren Ohnesorge said. “It got us up and going.”