LISBON — Bob Bunting has won over 1,200 games as a prep softball coach because he knows a little something about the game. OK, more than a little something.
But don’t underestimate having good fortune every now and then, especially this season.
His Lisbon Lions are headed back to the state tournament for a third consecutive year in large part due to being beneficiaries of a player move in. Make that a move back in.
Pitcher Ryleigh Allgood threw a three-hitter to guide her eighth-ranked team past No. 13 Central City, 4-1, Monday night in a Class 1A regional final at Bob Bunting Field. The diminutive left-handed freshman seamlessly stepped into the ace role after returning to town from Kansas City, Mo., where she moved after fifth grade.
“It was nerveracking to come back,” she said. “I was excited I got to see all my friends again, though.”
Lisbon (20-3) finished third in 1A last season but graduated five starters, including all of its pitching. That’s where Allgood’s transfer back comes into play.
She has a 17-2 record and lowered her earned run average here, which was a very tidy 1.73 to start the night.
“It was a rebuilding year,” Bunting said. “But there was no question our good young kids who played last year could fill defensive holes. Our blessing was that Ryleigh moved back. That has been real key.”
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Natalie Noonan smacked Allgood’s first pitch of the game off the fence in right field for a double for Central City (12-4) and went to third on a wild pitch. But the Wildcats didn’t score, Lisbon did in the bottom of the first on a two-out error, and Allgood settled in.
She didn’t walk anyone (after walking five apiece in her team’s first two postseason games) and struck out three. Lillie Kramer touched her for a solo home run in the fifth, but that was it.
“I struggled from an injury a couple of weeks ago, hurt my groin muscle,” Allgood said. “And it took a lot to get back from it. I think this was the game I did best in (since that). It affected my stride, especially my push leg.”
Three of Lisbon’s four runs were of the unearned variety, which turned out to be the difference. The Lions put the ball in play against Central City pitcher Sara Reid, who gave up five hits and a walk, striking out one.
Lisbon took a 2-0 lead in fourth on a run-scoring wild pitch, got Kramer’s run back in the bottom of the fifth thanks in part to a throwing error and scored a clean run in the sixth when Taylor Techau doubled leading off, her courtesy runner coming across on a Kali Nelson sacrifice fly.
Techau went 2-for-3.
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