Prep Baseball & Softball

New Athens heading to 1A softball regional final

The New Athens Yellow Jackets shut out the Lebanon Greyhounds 3-0 in the 1A Lebanon softball regional semifinals Tuesday

It didn’t take long for the Yellow Jackets to strike when senior Sophie Cooper launched a two-run home run to center field in the first inning. Cooper tweaked her ankle in pregame warmups, but was 2-for-3 with a home run and all three RBIs for the Yellow Jackets.

“She hurt her ankle a little bit there in the pregame, but I think she’ll be fine,” said Yellow Jackets head coach Conrad Widdersheim. “She is a senior leader, our middle-of-the-lineup hitter, and for us to be successful this postseason we need her to be hot.”

New Athens freshman Julia Drake carried a no-hitter into the final inning until Lebanon junior Brittany Ogden poked a base hit to right field. The New Athens freshman allowed just one hit and struck out nine in her shutout performance.

“I didn’t realize she had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, but I knew she had her ‘A’ game,” Widdersheim said. “She was throwing the changeup great and really kept hitters off balance and hit her spots with the fastball.”

New Athens (15-12) advances to the 1A regional finals at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Yellow Jackets will play the winner of the semifinal game Wednesday between Valmeyer and Metro-East Lutheran.