The Babe Ruth state tournament was played at Monett's North Park on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Kirk Verhoff, president of the Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League, served as the tournament director.
"It was all pitching," said Coach Franke after the Sunday afternoon struggle for the title. "Carleigh Hall and McKenzie Moreland, they carried us."
The Monett girls fought the best teams in the state in blistering heat for three days.
"The girls played three games on Saturday afternoon with the heat index over one hundred four degrees," said Moreland's mother. "They guzzled Powerade and ate cheeseburgers and took it all in stride."
The girls from Washington played their hearts out in the final, and came up one big play short. The Wildfire pitcher, Courtney Kedroski, matched Moreland in the early going, and the scoreboard never blinked as the teams played to a 0-0 tie after three full innings.
Monett had only two baserunners in those innings. Shana Paulsen was stranded after her two-out single to center field in the bottom of the 2nd, and Lee Ann Hesseman's leadoff walk in the 3rd went for naught when Cassidy Franke lined into a double play.
In the bottom half of the 4th inning, the home team broke the tie. Carleigh Hall worked the count for a one-out walk, and went to 2nd base when Kelsey Wiseman grounded out to Kedroski. Josee Krueger wowed the crowd with her two-out RBI double to left field, and Monett took a 1-0 lead.
Washington desperately tried to play small ball to tie the game, but stranded the tying run at 2nd base in both the 5th and 6th innings. Meanwhile, Monett loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the 6th, but could not convert.
In the top of the 7th and final inning, Washington again advanced a runner into scoring position, with Alyssa Tobben, a speedy substitute runner, going to 2nd base with two outs. But Bethany Coons' fly ball nested in Krueger's glove at 3rd base to end the ballgame.
Besides the Monett girls' victory in the 14 and under division, three other age-group titles were decided on Sunday afternoon.
The Mineral Area Mischief captured the 10 and under crown, defeating Boonville, 11-5.
The Washington Wildfire 12 and under girls won their title, controlling Heartland, 11-3.
The 16 and under championship was won by the Union City Lady Saints, 9-1 winners over Sikeston.
The top two teams from each division now advance to regional action. The Monett 14 and under team will be playing in Wiley, Colorado later in the summer. Second place Washington will also advance to the regional tournament.