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Central's season ends with 12-inning loss to Knights
FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Farmington's Katherine Sitzes chipped a single just over Central second baseman Bailey Kratochvil's outstretched glove to drive in the winning run in the 12th inning during Monday's Class 4 District 1 softball semifinal.
Sitzes' single gave the Black Knights the 3-2 victory and ruined a dominant start from Tigers pitcher Emily Myers.
Myers hadn't allowed a hit since the fifth inning before Farmington's Natalie Hoehn led off the 12th with a double. But Myers didn't panic. She struck out the next two batters, setting the stage for Sitzes.
"That last pitch was a great pitch," Central coach Amy Blattel said of Myers' low and outside delivery.
Myers struck out nine and walked one.
"The drop ball was working," Central catcher Taylre Scott said. "It was the change of speed and it got them every time. It was inside and they were crowding the plate and they couldn't hit it."
Myers relied on her changeup to befuddle the Farmington hitters. A number of Black Knights at-bats ended with lazy pop ups, courtesy of Myers' changeup that fluttered toward the plate.
"It usually doesn't float like that," Myers said. "Today, instead of releasing down on top of it, I was up a little so it floated a little more."
Even as the game moved deeper into extra innings, Myers demonstrated a cool demeanor in the circle. When Farmington threaened in the 12th before winning it, she flashed a wide smile after almost every pitch, just like she had for most of the contest.
"You have to stay up," she said. "I just had to keep my mind focused."
Myers also had the benefit of some solid defense behind her as two Farmington baserunners were thrown out at the plate. The first one came in the fifth inning with the score tied 2-2. Allie Trask tried to score from second on a single to left field. But Central left fielder Brooke Baugher fired a strike to Scott, who applied the tag.
Scott was at the center of the action again in the 10th inning. Sonya Hahn, who coaxed Myers' lone base on ball, tried to steal second. Scott rifled a throw to second, but no one covered the base. Farmington coach Kyle Odell never stopped waving around Hahn as she raced toward third. But Tigers center fielder Chelsea Sterling overcame a slight bobble and hurled the ball to Scott, who applied the tag to keep the game deadlocked at 2-2.
"The one that I threw it to second, my heart stopped," Scott said. "I was like, 'Oh my God.' But then I was like, 'Get that throw in.' I was like, 'Thank God.'"
Farmington jumped ahead 2-0 in the second behind a hit and two errors. The Tigers rallied to tie it 2-2 in the fourth with some small ball.
"If you've got a team that's not going to field the bunt very well, we're going to continue to bunt," Blattel said. "We're going to continue to do what we need to do. If we need to go short game, we'll go short game."
Lexi Smith led off with a double and then the Tigers went to work on Hoehn, Farmington's third baseman. Tori Ourth reached on Hoehn's first error, which allowed Smith to score. Kratochvil laid down a sacrifice bunt before Baugher laid down another bunt, which Hoehn threw away for her second error of the inning. Ourth scored on the play.
Central didn't go away from what was working. Sterling laid down a bunt single to put runners on first and second with one out, but that's all Central would get. The inning ended when the third-base umpire ruled Sterling left second base before a pitch was thrown for the inning's third out.
Myers felt for Farmington pitcher Erin Littrell during the Tigers' small-ball attack in the fourth.
"It's frustrating because the defense is struggling and you're trying to do your job," Myers said. "So when they're struggling, you have to keep doing your job."
Central put a runner in scoring position in four of the final six innings but couldn't manage to push across a run.
"The kids just had a determination," Blattel said of her team's strong finish to the season.
WP -- Erin Littrell. LP -- Emily Myers. 2B -- Taylre Scott (C), Lexi Smith (C), Brittany Perkins (C), Natalie Hoehn (F). Multiple hits -- Central: Lexi Smith 2-6, Ourth 2-5, Perkins 2-6, Victoria Schabbing 2-4; Farmington: Hoehn 3-5.