Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Helias shortstop Lauren Morrow hit a solo home run on a full count in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie Fatima at 6 and force extra innings Tuesday.
The Lady Comets answered in the top of the eighth, however, with two runs on three errors and a wild pitch to beat Helias at Duensing Field, 8-6.
“We played well offensively,” Helias coach Dan Campbell said. “I was very happy with the way we hit, but it’s just a broken record for us. We don’t get it done on defense, and we’re not going to win games like this until we start playing better defense.”
Fatima began the scoring in the first on consecutive singles by Sammey Bunch, Morgan Brandt and Kristen Boeckmann. Christine Brunnert reached on an error, and the Lady Comets started off the game with two runs. Helias got one back on a Jordyn Nappier single and a Grace Dittmer RBI.
Bunch doubled in the third and scored on a Boeckmann groundout after stealing third. Then, Helias took a 4-3 lead in the fourth with infield singles by pitcher Lindsey Steinbeck and Allison Borrow and RBI singles by Julie Harris and Nappier. All the damage came with two outs.
But the Lady Comets answered in the top of the fifth. Brandt drove in Erica Fick with a double and Bunch grabbed the lead when Nappier made a good catch in foul territory but wasn’t able to relay a throw home in time. Kate Massman drove home Brandt for an insurance run.
Helias cut the lead to 6-5 in the fifth with doubles by Lauren Morrow and Dittmer. All scoring ceased until Lauren Morrow’s last-chance homer. Dittmer doubled two batters later but was stranded.
The first-two extra-inning batters reached on errors for Fatima, and Fick grounded out to allow Michelle Barnhart to score the go-ahead run. An error moved Leah Kesel to third, and she scored on a wild pitch.
It was the second straight extra-inning win for Fatima. The Lady Comets defeated St. Elizabeth on Monday in eight innings thanks to a two-run home run from Morgan Brandt.
“I think they took the momentum from that into this,” Fatima coach Dana Scheppers said. “It was an exciting game. We got ahead. They came back and got ahead. We just battled back and forth all game. I’m proud of the girls for working hard and getting through when we need to get through, getting those runs in.”
Scheppers thinks the experience might pay off.
“I’m hoping to use this to our advantage in the future,” she said. “Winning close games and winning extra-inning games,— hopefully postseason we can pull a few out that way, too.”
Kesel was the winning pitcher for Fatima (9-5).
Lauren Morrow had three hits but ultimately it was not enough for Helias (7-11).
“That was a nice shot to keep us in it,” Campbell said. “It’s too bad we didn’t capitalize on it.”