District softball title eludes Scott City

Sunday, October 9, 2011
Scott City players react to their 4-3 loss to St. Pius in the Class 2 District 2 championship game Saturday in Festus, Mo.

FESTUS, Mo. -- What started as a pitchers duel between Scott City's Alexis Spriggs and St. Pius' Holly Magre ended with a flurry of dramatic events to decide the Class 2 District 2 softball championship.

Host St. Pius came up with just enough plays for a 4-3 victory against Scott City on Saturday.

The Lancers (14-9) scored three runs in the top of the seventh, two of them on a three-base error, then stamped out Scott City's threat in the bottom of the inning. The Lancers moved on to face East Carter in the sectional round Wednesday.

The Rams (13-11) were left with plenty of tears after rallying in the sixth and coming one out away from a win in the top of the seventh. They also had the tying run in scoring position when the game's final out was made.

"We had our opportunities to end it; we just couldn't get it done," Scott City coach Amy Pobst said. "Hats off to them. They did a great job, and that can happen."

Scott City catcher Lyndsey Rendleman retires St. Pius baserunner Kelley Conway at home on a force out during the sixth inning of Saturday's Class 2 District 2 championship game in Festus, Mo. (Kristin Eberts)

Spriggs allowed five hits -- three of those in the final inning -- and yielded two earned runs. She struck out seven.

"She was moving the ball around a lot and getting us to swing at some tough pitches," Magre said about Spriggs. "She was a really good pitcher and it was hard to get adjusted to, but we finally got around to it after we had a few at-bats."

Magre also allowed five hits and just one earned run. She struck out eight.

Baserunners were scarce and no one advanced beyond second base through five innings.

That made the Lancers' fifth-inning rally look large, although the momentum shifted when it amounted to just one run.

Scott City baserunner Lyndsie Robert dives back to third as St. Pius' Kelly Conway tries to pick her off during the sixth inning Saturday.

St. Pius leadoff hitter Ashley Marks walked and stole second base one out later. Kelley Conway then delivered her second hit of the game to drive in Marks, and she took second base when center field Shelby Rhymer could not handle the ball cleanly. Magre followed with a ground ball that eluded shortstop Lyndsie Robert, and Caroline Basler walked to load the bases.

But Spriggs forced Kathryn Chamberlain to hit a tough grounder to short, which Robert turned into a force out at home. Allison Dobey flew out to end the threat.

"We did a great job defensively there, stopping it at one, giving ourselves a chance to come back," Pobst said. "We've been a hitting team this year, and I kept telling the girls, 'We're going to break, we're going to break out.' And that was basically the spark right there."

Spriggs also was optimistic after avoiding a big inning, but she added, "Usually, I've been told the team that is the first one to score is the one that will win."

Scott's City's half of the sixth inning opened with outs before Robert lined a single up the middle. No. 3 hitter Lindsey Kern singled to right to put runners at the corners for Spriggs. She smashed a line drive off the glove of the second baseman to drive in Robert and set up first and third again with the score tied 1-1.

Scott City's Alicia Kern, left, and Shelby Rhymer go after a fly ball during the seventh inning of Saturday's Class 2 District 2 title game in Festus, Mo. Rhymer made the catch. (Kristin Eberts)

"We realized she was pitching us more outside, so it was a matter of scooting up to the plate and making sure we get the meat of the barrel on the ball," Spriggs said.

Magre recovered to strike out Macy Hall, but the sinking third strike required a throw from Basler, the Lancers catcher, who fired high to first base, allowing two runs to score for a 3-1 Rams lead. Brittany Kiefer was retired on a tough grounder to second base.

"I had faith the whole time," Magre said. "But in the bottom of the sixth inning, when we gave up three runs, I got a little nervous."

St. Pius' rally began in the top of the seventh with a one-out single by No. 9 hitter Taylor Fishbach. Marks followed with a double to the gap in right-center field. Haley Martin then popped up a bunt just in front of the plate that spun and squirted out of the glove of catcher Hall to load the bases.

Conway, who had the Lancers' only two hits before the seventh inning, hit a fly ball to center, which Rhymer caught and fired home to Hall, but Fishbach reached the plate before she was tagged, the umpire ruled.

Scott City's Lindsey Kern makes a catch during the third inning Saturday.

"I thought she was safe," said Magre, the on-deck hitter. "I thought she was in before she picked up the ball."

"I thought she was out because our catcher was blocking the plate really well," Spriggs said, "but you can't go back and fix it."

With St. Pius still trailing 3-2 and down to its last out, Magre hit a liner to right field that eluded Tana Tetley and allowed Marks and Martin to score. A pop out ended the top of the seventh.

The Rams responded by getting two of three batters on base from the bottom of the order. Rhymer reached on a throwing error by third baseman Conway, and Julie Holder singled with a spinning bunt that Basler smothered in fair territory one out later.

But Lyndsey Rendleman's solid contact resulted in a fly out to center field, and Robert grounded to third to end it.

The Rams carried three seniors on the roster, one of whom was injured much of the year, Pobst said. The Rams were bidding for their first softball district championship.

"I felt like we had a very good season," Pobst said. "We had our ups and downs, but overall when things would go wrong, the girls would battle through adversity and come back. These young girls have learned a lot this year, and they're ready for next year."

St. Pius0000013--452
Scott City0000030--354

WP -- Holly Magre. LP -- Alexis Spriggs. 2B -- Ashley Marks. Multiple hits -- St. Pius: Kelley Conway 2-4.

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