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Belles win district crown

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By Robert Howey

The Lancaster Southern Belles softball stars are headed back to the state tournament to defend their state crown.Lancaster, rebounding from a first-round 6-5 loss to Union, earned its revenge and the District II championship with a 12-0 win over the Union all-stars on Monday night in Chester.Lancaster scored at least one run in every inning but one on the way to the shutout victory.Right-hander Jena Hallman, who worked five innings, hurled a four-hitter and fanned six. She walked two. Hallman, for the tournament, was 2-0 with 12 strikeouts. She allowed five runs – one earned run and walked four batters.In the title game, Hallman rapped two hits, scored twice and drove in a run. Carley Bailey drilled two hits, drove in a run and scored a run.Dayne Ware had a hit, scored two runs and drove in three runs. Kayla Starnes supplied a hit and drove in two runs. Madisson Finley and Hannah Hovis each had a hit, drove in a run and scored a run.Chelsea Holden had a hit and scored two runs. Cori Ballard tallied twice and Abby Faulkenberry scored a run.Lancaster, following its 6-5 loss to Union on Friday night, rallied to blank host Chester 15-0 and then disposed of Union 14-3 and 12-0.In addition to Hallman’s solid mound work, Carley Bailey worked four frames and allowed a run and three hits during district tournament play.Erin Walker, who took the lone loss in tournament play, yielded six hits and three runs – one earned. Cori Ballard hurled two innings and whiffed five with no hits or runs allowed.On offense for the tournament, Chelsea Holden and Carley Bailey each batted .500. Bailey and Hallman each drove in five runs.Hallman and Holden each scored seven runs. Angel Cox tallied four runs to aid the Lancaster Belles’ drive to the crown.The Lancaster Belles all-stars open play in the state tournament July 12 when they face Sumter. The double-elimination tournament continues to July 16.AL Angels finish secondThe Lancaster County Dixie Softball American League Angels all-stars finished as the district runner-up after a solid run in the tournament.The Lancaster Angels AL stars fell to Union on Tuesday night when they dropped a 7-6 loss in the district championship game.The Angels American stars fell their tournament opener in the double-elimination tournament, falling to host Chester 7-3 on Friday night.The AL Angels steadily battled back to reach the championship game.Lancaster rebounded in an elimination game to defeat Lancaster National 16-2 and then dispatched of Lewisville 13-0.Lancaster AL then eliminated Chester in decisive fashion, posting a 10-0 win.The surging American League Angels next faced then-unbeaten Union and took a 7-1 win to force a final clash between the two squads.In the six-run win over Union, Lancaster AL Angels’ hurler Hannah Cobb struck out 13 and allowed two hits to notch the win.Cobb and Erika Willis each had two hits to lead the offense. Brooke Brewer, Ariana Ealy, Natalie Robertson and Mallory Watson each drilled a hit to boost the Lancaster American League Angels’ offensive attack..In the district championship game, Lancaster American held a 6-2 lead in the fourth inning, but Union rallied to pull out the narrow win and the district crown.Jensen Shelby worked four innings and struck out eight. Brooke Brewer hurled two frames and fanned five.Taylor Grace McCowan led the Lancaster AL offense with two hits. Erika Willis, Hannah Cobb, Elizabeth Scott and Brooke Brewer each had one hit.“After losing in the opening game of the tournament, these girls made a great run,” said Lancaster County AL Angels manager Tripp Cobb. “From the time we began our all-star practice, these girls have played hard and given great effort.“I appreciate the work of our assistant coaches as well as the parents, grandparents and fans for their support.”