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Dragons Win First Region Softball Title Since 1987


By Hutchinson CC Sports Information

DODGE CITY ( – Consider the Region VI Softball Tournament door now kicked in for the Hutchinson Community College softball team.

Led by a 14-hit offensive attack and a gutsy effort in the pitching circle from freshman Dakota Lake, the second-seeded Blue Dragons completed a mission 37 years in the making on Monday at Legends Park.

Hutchinson jumped out to a six-run lead for the second straight game and captured the program’s first Region 6 softball championship since 1987 with a 16-4 victory over the Butler Grizzlies in championship game.

The Blue Dragons automatically qualify for the NJCAA Division I National Softball Tournament, which will be May 20-25 at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama. The Blue Dragons extend their school record for wins in a season, taking a record 46-10 record to the national tournament.

Hutchinson is the first regional champion other than Butler since Barton won the title in 2015.

After playing in the regional championship game in 2017, 2018 and 2023, Blue Dragon head coach Jaime Rose celebrates her first regional championship in 20 seasons with the Blue Dragons. Earning her 600th win at Hutchinson earlier this season, Rose’s Blue Dragon record is now 616-358 at Hutchinson.

Hutchinson had to come through the loser’s bracket after dropping a 5-0 decision to Butler in the winner’s bracket final on Saturday. Hutchinson qualified for the finals with a 9-5 win over Barton in Sunday’s losers’ bracket final and forced a second championship game with a 12-3 win over the top-seeded and defending regional champion Grizzlies.

Just like Sunday, the Blue Dragons jumped out fast with a three-run first inning. Divis got things going with an RBI single through the left side to score Olivia SandovalKorri Lies then singled to right to score Alexis Mastin and Brooke Backhaus followed with an RBI single to score Jaeleigh Darnell for a 3-0 Blue Dragon lead.

The Dragons made it 6-0 after two innings with three runs in the second inning. Darnell reached on a fielder’s choice, but the Grizzlies committed two of their four errors in the game on the play and Bailey Backhaus scored to make it 4-0. Divis then followed with a two-run triple to give the Dragons a 6-0 lead.

From there, Lake (11-3) kept the Grizzlies at arm’s length and keeping Butler away from big innings. The Grizzlies scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.

Lake pitched her eighth complete game of the season. She allowed eight hits, four runs and five walks. She struck out five to surpass D.J. Cannon (2018) for second place on the Blue Dragon single-season strikeout list, becoming only the second Blue Dragon to strike out 200 batters in one season. Only Holly Kelley (2016) has more strikeouts in a season with 262.

Leading 6-2 in fourth inning, the Blue Dragons stepped on the accelerator and pulled away from the Grizzlies with a six-run fourth inning.

Lies opened the inning with an RBI single that scored Mastin for a 7-2 lead. Brooke Backhaus then singled in two runs with a shot to shallow right-center for a 9-2 lead. Tami Lozoya then singled in a run, which was followed by an RBI fielder’s choice by Sandoval and a bases-loaded walk to Mastin to build a 12-2 lead. The Dragons sent 13 batters to the in the fourth inning.

Leading 12-4 entering the seventh inning, the Blue Dragons added four more runs produced by an Annie Kealey pinch-hit three-run double and a Bailey Backhaus RBI groundout.

Divis had her first career four-hit game, going 4 for 5 with a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored. Over the two championship games, Divis was 6 for 10 with four RBIs.

Bailey Backhaus, Sandoval, Lies and Brooke Backhaus had two hits each.

Brooke Backhaus drove in three runs.

Sandoval’s first-inning double was a school-record double. She broke a tie with Madison Grimes with her 43rd career double.

+ Hutchinson made its sixth appearance in the Region VI championship game, joining the 1987, 1992, 2017, 2018 and 2023 teams.

+ With two hits in her first two at-bats on Monday, Bailey Backhaus had a streak of 10 hits in 10 at-bats in the tournament.

+ With two hits by Brooke Backhaus, the 2024 Blue Dragons became the first team in program history to have four players with 80 or more hits in a season. Olivia Sandoval has 92 hits, Bailey Backhaus has 89 hits, Jaeleigh Darnell has 88 hits and Brooke Backhaus now has 80 hits. Those four players rank Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 6 on the Blue Dragons single-season hits list. Jessica Glenn has the record with 96 hits.