COLUMBIA — The Hickman softball team used the play of two Taylors, Taylor Cowan and Taylor Aniker, defeat Jefferson City to win the Class 4, District 10 Championship on Friday.
Behind another stellar performance by senior pitcher Cowan, the Kewpies beat a team that they have typically struggled against, 2-1.
Cowan overcame a pregame scare after she was hit by teammate's errant practice throw. She was attended to on the field but continued to play, holding the Jays to one run.
That lone run came on an unusual play that mirrored one that took place Thursday night against Rock Bridge. For the second night in a row, Hickman saw the opposing team score when a throw to first base ricocheted off a runner's helmet and rolled into the outfield, bringing a run in.
"What’s the odds of that, seriously!" Hickman coach Courtney Haskell said after the game. "Not a whole lot you can do about it. We will work on it though, I can guarantee that."
It didn't take long for Hickman to respond, though, answering the Jays' score in the bottom of the fifth score at the start of the sixth.
Hickman's Taylor Aniker laid down an impressive bunt with a runner on first. After some confusion for Jefferson City, the second baseman made an errant throw to to the Jays' shortstop covering second ended up in the outfield. A runner came around to score on the play to tie the game.
"It was a great bunt," Haskell said.
The play worked out better than Hickman had planned.
"It was supposed to be a sacrifice (bunt), but, you know, whatever works," Haskell said with a smile.
But the biggest play of the night came one play later when Aniker raced home a wild pitch by Jefferson City's Mackenzie Bowden. It would be the winning run.
"It was amazing. It was the perfect ending. I can’t even explain it," Aniker said.
Meanwhile, Cowan put an exclamation point on the win by striking out the final Jefferson City batter. The Bruins swarmed Cowan as the umpire called the final strike.
Cowan reveled in the victory over Jefferson City. The Jays have bounced the Kewpies from district play for the last few years.
"It feels amazing. It took us four years, but we finally did it," Cowan said. "All the losses... They're worth it right here.
Haskell couldn't hide her emotions as she spoke about finally triumphing over Jefferson City.
"I’m so proud. I really can’t say it enough. I’m so happy for these kids. They deserve it," she said.