La Monte is returning to the state sectional softball tournament.
Shutting out Northwest 15-0 Tuesday, and defeating Bunceton 10-0 Wednesday in the title game, the Lady Vikings rolled through districts and secured a second straight Class 1, District 15 championship.
Head coach Dabecka Kirk said the title puts La Monte one step closer to the season’s ultimate goal of avenging a quarterfinal’s loss to Crest Ridge last season.
“From day one—from before day one, that’s what we’ve been working on,” Kirk said.
Madison Harris turned to her curveball against the Dragons. She recorded 12 strikeouts in five innings.
Harris said back pain from an injury last week prompted her to throw more curveballs.
“I just tried to throw what I could,” Harris said. “Coach (Kirk) just said ‘Do your best,’”
The Lady Vikings opened the game with three walks. Vada DeMotte singled to draw first blood against Bunceton. She later scored on a Maya Martin groundout, and the Lady Vikings led 4-0 after the first.
Skyler Shoffield relieved Rachel Lenz in the circle for Bunceton in the second inning.
La Monte scored four runs in the second on four walks, a single and error.
Kirk said she challenged the team Wednesday to have more patience at the plate.
“They were specifically told to get one strike,” Kirk said. “They were not allowed to swing until they got a strike on them.”
Bunceton executed a double play against La Monte’s aggressive base-stealers when Lenz, playing first base, fired the ball to third after a groundout. She caught Emily Knoernshild stealing to end the inning with the Dragons down 8-0.
The visiting team, under first-year head coach Annie Duffner, overcame a 9-run deficit to defeat Sacred Heart in the first round of the tournament Monday, 20-15. Tuesday, the Dragons beat Smithton 21-20 after trailing by eight.
Duffner said the team, which finished 6-6, said the Dragons had a lot to be proud of.
“We had some pretty exciting high-points in the season,” Duffner said. “That’s why I tell them you have to look at the positives and be proud of what did happen right, and not the negatives.”
The Lady Vikings face Sweet Springs on the road Monday at 6 p.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2