Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
Lauren Morrow’s coaches told her she wouldn’t get anything to hit. Apparently, that wasn’t the case.
After hitting a solo home run in her first at-bat, Morrow did see something worth hitting in the bottom of the third and turned a 3-2 pitch into a double to drive in Jordyn Nappier, tying School of the Osage at 2.
Though the Lady Indians got smart in Morrow’s next at-bat — they issued her a quick four-pitch walk — the Lady Crusaders would never trail again after Morrow’s double en route to a 8-4 Class 3 District 10 tournament win at Duensing Field.
Morrow’s home run was the shortstop’s sixth of the year, setting a school record. Lindsey LeCuru held the previous record with five.
“She’s been hitting it all year for us,” Campbell said of Morrow. “We just need to get some runners on in front of her”
Helias made the most of its runners in its next trip to the plate. After Riley Bond walked and stole second, Lindsey Steinbeck hit a single to send Bond to third. Then, Cayci Reinkemeyer made what Campbell called the key play of the game.
Reinkemeyer bunted, advancing Steinbeck to second. Then, once School of the Osage forced Reinkemeyer out at first, Bond broke for home and squeaked by to score the go-ahead run.
“That was a huge bunt, because it put us ahead,” Morrow said. “I don’t think you could lay it down any better than that.”
Campbell added: “That’s a tough play to make because you’ve got to field the ball, throw it and throw it again to make the play. So we should be able to run 40 feet before then.”
With the lead in hand, the Lady Crusaders proceeded to hit around in the inning. Allison Morrow tagged an RBI double, Haley Kempker reached second on an error, Nappier and Lauren Morrow walked, and Kaylie LeCuru singled to drive in two runs.
The three-hit, three-walk inning gave Helias a 7-2 lead.
“I was waiting for it,” Campbell said of the big lead. “It was much too close for my comfort.”
In the third, the Lady Indians plated two runners to take the lead. Skylar Smith, Austin Dulle and Taylor Good singled in succession, with Good’s driving in Smith. Charity Nelson was hit by a pitch, and Briana Jordan drew a bases-loaded walk to score Dulle.
School of the Osage’s Nos. 1 through 4 hitters went 8-for-15 with three RBI.
“They played real tough. They really impressed me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Campbell said.
However, the remainder of the Lady Indians’ lineup went 2-for-15 with both hits coming from Veronica Harris in the No. 9 spot. School of the Osage stranded nine runners in total.
Steinbeck, who struck out seven, struggled with her command at times. She allowed 10 hits, walked two batters and hit two.
“We just told her to take a deep breath and pitch and we’d make the plays behind her,” Lauren Morrow said.
And that they did. The Lady Crusaders didn’t have an error all night.
With the bats in tow, Helias was able to overcome a one-run deficit and extend its season.
“We’ve gone down and come back all year,” Lauren Morrow said. “So we were just like, ‘It’s early in the game.’”
After going 7-17 in Class 4 last season, Campbell was happy to get the first game of the Class 3, District 10 tournament out of the way.
“Sometimes the first is the hardest,” he said.
Helias advances to play top-seeded Bolivar on Friday at Duensing.
“Now we’ll get a shot at the number one,” Campbell said. “And on our field.”