The game could just have easily been a 14-12 slugfest or a 3-2 pitcher’s duel.
With nine hits each, and 19 total stranded baserunners, Thursday’s district semi-final between No. 1 seed Rock Bridge and No. 4 seed Battle could’ve had a very different storyline.
“We pushed them today,” Battle coach Joe Henderson said. “We could’ve easily have won that game, just as much as we lost it. We were in a dog fight from the beginning to the end and it went all the way to the end.”
With runners on base, Rock Bridge pitcher Ella Schouten, became unhittable. The only time Battle was allowed to score was in the top of the fourth with two outs. With the bases loaded, Battle sophomores Abby Schlude and Brooklynn Spillman hit back to back singles to pull the Spartans within one at 3-2. Battle had a second bases-loaded opportunity in the fifth, but sophomore Aubrei Roland could not get the job done, striking out swinging in three pitches. Schouten finished with 10 Ks.
Much was the same for Battle ace Mya McCubbin. The junior pitcher loaded the bases twice. The Bruins took away two runs in the bottom of the third to pull further ahead 3-0. Later, in the sixth, its third time through the lineup, Battle popped McCubbin for three more. McCubbin ended the game with eight strikeouts and the loss.
The difference between the teams was that Rock Bridge took control when the game was on the line. Both Rock Bridge and Battle squandered scoring opportunities, but with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, the Bruins pulled through. A Madison White sacrifice fly and a rocket line drive from Anna Christ put the game away.
Madison White showed off her softball IQ as well as her bat on Thursday for Rock Bridge. The senior swiped two bags and scrambled home to score on a passed ball. Her single, double and sacrifice fly put White in a position to score twice and hit a runner home.
For Battle, Spillman was 3-3 with an RBI.
Rock Bridge will play the No. 2 seed, Hickman, at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the District Championship.
Hickman takes care of business
In the other half of the bracket, Hickman, the No. 2 seed, dispatched Jefferson City 7-1 behind shutdown pitching and timely hits.
Senior pitcher Abby Hurtado starred from the rubber. The righty put out nine Jay hitters, four of them looking, and only gave up three hits. Hurtado held her opponents to a .125 batting average and only one run in seven innings of work.
At the plate, the Kewpies spread six hits out among six batters. Hurtado, who was 1-3, led the team in RBI with two. Also batting in teammates were seniors Avery Throckmorton and Brooke Green.
The Kewpies will look to stay alive when they play at 1 p.m. Saturday at home against their rival Rock Bridge.
Tolton routs Hallsville
On Wednesday, Tolton shut out Hallsville for the second time this season, earning a chance to play in the Class 2 District 7 Championship.
Traliblazer pitcher Paige Bedsworth no-hit the Indians in September, but gave up two in the postseason contest. The junior struck out 15 on her way to the 10-0 victory.
Bedsworth shined at the plate as well, going 3-4 along with her teammate Allie Widmer. Emilee Farnan was a perfect 4-4 with 3 RBIs. As a team, Tolton pounded Hallsville pitching for 14 hits.
The Trailblazers will face the No. 2 seed, Centralia, in the District Championship at 1 p.m. Saturday in Mokane.