"We started to put everything together this weekend," said Pierce City coach Darin Henderson. "We beat some good schools and competed against every team we played. Our girls really came together this weekend. We put teams away when we needed to and we came from behind a couple times.
"It was a great weekend for us but we have to continue to get better every day," continued Henderson. "We had two season-defining wins against Bixby, Okla., and Branson. They were very good softball teams."
The Lady Eagles won four of their five games. The only setback coming in extra innings to last year's Class 2 state championship Warsaw.
|However, the tournament proved costly to the Eagles when junior center fielder, Emily Ashley, broke her collarbone in the last game as a result of a collision with the Branson first baseman.||Ashley will be out for the remainder of the season.|
The Eagles opened the tournament with a 15-0 win over Class 3 Logan-Rogersville.
Pierce City exploded for seven runs in the first inning, three in the second, one in the third and four in the fourth inning before the game was ended due to the mercy rule.
Bailee Hayward went four for four with three singles, one walk, two RBI and a stolen base. Sara Stearns was four for four with one single, a double, two walks and two runs scored. Faith Strong went three for three with a single, two walks and three runs scored.
Pierce City's pitcher Mckenzie Moreland struck out five batters to earn the victory.
Against Class 4 Kickapoo Lady Chiefs, the Lady Eagles prevailed 6-4.
Pierce City plated a run in the first inning and three more in the third. Each score was answered by the Lady Chiefs.
Pierce City pulled ahead for good in the fourth inning, scoring one run and holding Kickapoo scoreless for the rest of the game. The Lady Eagles added one more insurance run in the seventh to complete the scoring.
Hayward finished three for four at the plate with two singles, a walk, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Moreland went three for four with two doubles and a walk. Jade Winsea was three for four with a walk, a single and a double, one RBI and a stolen base.
Moreland picked up the victory. She struck out eight, walked one and allowed seven hits and one earned run.
The Lady Eagles then faced Warsaw in a rematch of last season's quarterfinals matchup.
The Lady Eagles scored one run in the first inning when Hayward singled and moved to second on a Moreland sacrifice bunt. Ashley then doubled to score Hayward.
Warsaw answered with a run in the second inning.
The next five innings were a series of scoreless efforts for both teams, ending up in an international tie breaker in the eighth inning.
Warsaw got first chance at scoring, starting with a runner at second, as is the rule, and were able to score two runs on a hit and an error before their at bat was over.
Pierce City started with Brooke Ridenour on second base. Strong hit a bunt single and reached second base on an error by the Warsaw. Ridenour scored on the play.
Monica Sexton then reached base on a Warsaw error.
|With two on and no outs, things were looking bright for the Lady Eagles with Hayward coming to the plate.|
Hayward smashed a scorching line drive that was caught by the second baseman, who threw to first base for out number two. Strong tried to steal home on the play, and the throw from first to home was in time to end the game.
Moreland took the loss. She struck out seven and walked one.
On Saturday, the Lady Eagles faced the Class 6A Bixby, Okla., Lady Spartans. The game turned in to a 10-inning marathon with Pierce City coming from behind to win 9-7.
The Lady Spartans appeared to be headed for a victory lead 6-0 after five innings.
The Lady Eagles would not give up though and rallied for four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh inning to force extra innings.
After two tense innings, Pierce City broke through the Lady Spartan defense with two runs.
Ridenour started the frame on second base. Ashley hit a ball to center field to score Ridenour and Ashley later scored on a suicide squeeze bunt by Jade Winsea to make the score 9-7.
Moreland picked up the victory. She struck out nine, walked three and allowed eight hits.
The Lady Eagles played the Class 4 Branson Lady Pirates in the fifth place game.
Pierce City prevailed 5-0, scoring single runs in the first and second innings and three more runs in the fifth.
Moreland struck out seven to earn the victory.
Pierce City travels to Marionville on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.