Lady Pirates fall to Lady Orioles in state championship battle

Steve Chapman

Displaying their trophy, the Lady Pirates pose for a team photo following their championship defeat. (Photo by Steve Chapman)

Stellar year for Ash Grove softballers ends at hands of Concordia; settle for second place
The Ash Grove Lady Pirates fell to the Concordia Lady Orioles in Class 1 Spring State Championships game, played at the Killian Softball Complex in Springfield on Tuesday, May 21.
In the end, it was one run that determined the outcome of the game. The Lady Orioles scored a run in the first inning. Despite impressive play by both teams, neither seemed to be able to seize the advantage. Neither the Lady Pirates nor the Lady Orioles scored a run for the rest of the game. As a result, the Lady Pirates ended the season as the state runners-up and the Class 1 District 5 champions.

Coach Austin Tipton said he was extremely proud of his team’s performance.
“(Meagan Hawkins) pitched her heart out today,” he said. “Chelsye Graham called a great game behind the plate. We had opportunities; we just couldn’t catch them, and that’s how it goes sometimes.”

Making it to state championship a historic first for Lady Pirates
While making it to the finals at state-level competition is always a praiseworthy accomplishment, it was particularly noteworthy for the team as it was the first time that the Ash Grove High School Lady Pirates had ever made it to the final four, much the less the final game, of the state softball championship.
Chelsye Graham, catcher, said she was elated to see the team make it to the finals.
“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “It’s a really big deal for me, because last year my dad (Ash Grove head baseball coach Berrah Brown) won state for baseball. So like, we’re both setting history in Ash Grove, and I’m pretty proud of that. It would have been better to be first, but we’ve already made history to begin with as the first time the girls’ softball team has made it to final four. So, I’m just proud of this group of girls.”
Pitcher Meagan Hawkins said she was also very proud of the Lady Pirates’ season.
“It’s a dream come true,” she said, “and to experience it with all of my friends, it’s amazing.”
With the end of the season, the senior players will be heading off to college, while Tipton said the rest of the team would be getting back to work immediately to prepare for summer softball.
Ash Grove Softball team roster
Below is the roster for the 2024 Ash Grove softball team who finished second at state competition last week at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield, falling 1-0 to the Concordia.

Chelsea Graham - Senior
Ashlyn Gerla - Senior
Maddi Grube - Senior
Sway Kenney - Senior
Madison Lutz - Senior
Meagan Hawkins - Senior
Myah Johnson - Junior
Marissa Andrus - Junior
Bristol Lathrop - Freshman
Abby Stevens - Freshman
Samantha Schindler - Freshman
Aubrie Gerla - Freshman


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