By BRADEN LAYER
WINDSOR -- Altamont softball coach John Niebrugge said his team was looking to make a statement.
Playing at Windsor due to poor field conditions, the Lady Indians were playing their semifinal game against Stew-Stras right in front of the Lady Blue Devils, who had already advanced to the National Trail Conference tournament final.His team, and perhaps the Blue Devils, got the message.
Lauren Ohnesorge was a home run short of the cycle, finishing with four hits on the afternoon, as the Lady Indians built a 9-0 lead through two innings en route to a commanding 14-4 win."We came out swinging," Niebrugge said. "We're at Windsor, we knew we may have to play Windsor, we wanted to show them what we are capable of."Altamont finished with 13 hits off Stew-Stras' Kendall Knop, four coming in the first inning as the Lady Indians jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Maddie Ohnesorge opened the game with a single to short center, Josie Phillips was walked, and Deidre Ledbetter hit a sacrifice shot to advance the runners.With second and third occupied, Lauren Ohnesorge lined a two-RBI double to left center."Lauren Ohnesorge hit the ball all over the place," Niebrugge said. "She was driving it, that's what we've got to have out of our four-spot."Lauren Ohnesorge reached home two batters later on an RBI single from Gabby Alwardt, and Lauren White closed the first-inning scoring by crossing home on a wild pitch."This was the best team we've played all spring," Stew-Stras coach Kyle Knop said. "One through nine, they've got girls, their nine-spot had a few hits too."Jolene Northrup, batting ninth for the Indians, started the second inning with an infield single and stolen base. Maddie Ohnesorge singled and tried to do the same, but was caught in a pickle between first and second. Stew-Stras managed to throw her out at first, but Northrup was ignored as she coasted home for an Altamont run. Lebetter doubled two batters later, and Lauren Ohnesorge again came up huge at the plate with an RBI triple to the center-field wall. The Lady Indians plated five total runs in the second, the final coming off a double from Alex Teasley to right center that brought Alwardt home, and Altamont led 9-0. "I felt like, our team felt like, that's the best team we are going to see this spring," Coach Knop said. An RBI double from Lauren Ohnesorge in the third ended a two-run frame, and the Lady Indians were ahead 11-0. But Stew-Stras was not to be held down any longer. With two outs in the fifth and the game nearly over for the run rule, the Lady Comets strung together four-straight hits to plate four runs and extend the game. The final three came on a bases-loaded double from Kelsie Walden."Altamont certainly came out and beat us," Knop said. "But if you give up that's on you. I told the girls, 'I'm challenging you, you can roll over or you can keep playing. We threw together a nice offensive inning.'"The 11-4 deficit was short-lived, however, as Altamont tacked on three more in the bottom of inning five to put the game on ice. The Lady Indians were championship bound."It would have been a little better if we kept it cleaner," Niebrugge said. "We need to mix up our changeup a little bit more, they were kind of timing it up a little bit."Ledbetter got the win for Altamont on the mound, pitching all five innings with four runs on seven hits. Ledbetter finished with eight strikeouts on the day, as Altamont returns to action today against Windsor with an NTC tournament crown on the line at Beecher City."That's one our goals we set at the beginning of the year," Niebrugge said.Kendall Knop suffered the loss, pitching four innings with fourteen runs on thirteen hits and one strikeout. The Lady Comets are back at it today in the third-place game at St. Anthony.
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stew-Stras	000	04x	x	4 6 3Altamont	452	02x	x	14 13 0WP - Ledbetter	LP - Knop
Stew-Stras: Schultz (1B, RBI); Walden (1B, 2B, 3 RBI); Burton (1B); M. Quast (1B); Tabbert (1B).Altamont: M. Ohnesorge (3 1B); Ledbetter (2B, RBI); L. Ohnesorge (1B, 2 2B, 3B, 5 RBI); White (2 RBI); Alwardt (2 1B, RBI); Teasley (2B, RBI); Northrup (2 1B).