As the stalemate continued between the top two teams in Class 2 District 3, it seemed like the game might never end.
Tolton Catholic (20-3) softball and Russellville were tussling down to the wire, deep into extra innings and battling for a district championship at South Callaway High School on Saturday. Tolton coach Taylor Bartlett said it best.
“Somebody was going to have to step up and do something big,” Bartlett said.
And something big did happen. Just in Tolton’s favor.
Junior Emilee Farnan hit a walk-off home run, her first in her career, to center field to save the Trailblazers’ season and capture their third successive district tile with a thrilling 6-3 win in 11 innings.
“I didn’t think it was ever going to happen,” Farnan said after the game while sporting a massive grin.
The lead-up to the moment was filled with twists and turns throughout the game.
After conceding a run because of an error in the first inning, Tolton senior Ali Widmer stole home in the second inning to tie the game. The Trailblazers’ offense struck again in the fourth inning, as sophomore Kate Guinn and senior Paige Bedsworth each recorded RBI singles, gaining a two-run lead.
Russellville rallied in the seventh inning when a hit with the bases loaded brought in two runs to tie the game and force extra innings.
Bedsworth had seven of her 21 strikeouts in the four extra innings for Tolton, keeping Russellville from scoring for the rest of the game. Bedsworth pitched all 11 innings, allowing seven hits and two earned runs in addition.
After Guinn and freshman Eva Viox started the 11th inning for the Trailblazers by reaching base, Farnan’s first swing was enough to finally seal the win.
“It was fun to do it for the seniors,” Farnan said.
This was the second time Tolton played in an 11-inning game this season, its regular-season loss to Rock Bridge being the first.
Bartlett and his team seemed to use the experience of the previous 11-inning game to their advantage, committing zero errors in the extra innings.
Tolton advances to the Class 2 quarterfinals against Elsberry on Wednesday. Game time and location are still to be determined.
Rock Bridge keys in defensively to beat Troy Buchanan
Rock Bridge won the Class 5 District 4 championship Saturday after beating host Troy Buchanan 3-0 in a defensive battle to remain unbeaten.
Bruins senior pitcher Ella Schouten allowed three hits all game while striking out eight opposing batters.
Senior Maddie Snider started the scoring off in the third inning with a solo home run to right field. The Bruins (26-0) struck again in the fourth inning for two more runs thanks to sophomore Sophie Schupp’s solo shot and senior Margo Frossard’s RBI triple.
With the exception of a single in the seventh inning, Schouten and her defense would not allow another opposing player to reach base after the fourth inning.
Rock Bridge advances to the Class 5 quarterfinals against Fort Zumwalt West on Thursday. Game time and location are still to be determined.