"I am very proud of my team tonight," said Pierce City coach Darin Henderson. "This wasn't the type of game where you can say that this girl or that girl's individual play made the difference. Tonight every one of our players came up big and contributed to this win."
With the score tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth and with one out, Faith Strong singled and stole second. Strong moved to third on Brittney Young's ground out. On the next pitch, Strong broke for home, the ball skidded by the Lady Wildcats' catcher, and with a head first slide, Strong gave the Lady Eagles the win.
"These seniors are a very special bunch," said Henderson. "Prior to this class of girls, Pierce City had never had a winning softball season. The girls have collected two conference championships and a quarter-final playoff appearance. We still have more softball in front of us, and we want to keep the season going."
The Lady Eagles got off to a rocky start with two errors in the first inning, allowing Cassville to score a run.
Pierce City tied the game with a run in the third.
Cassville scored two runs in the fifth and took a 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Eagles scratched out a two-out run when Sara Stearns belted a home run to deep left center field.
The Lady Wildcats scored another run in the top of the sixth to make the score 4-2, but the Lady Eagles battled back in the bottom of the sixth.
Monica Sexton led off the inning with a double. Bailee Hayward slammed a double to move Sexton to third. Mckenzie Moreland hit a sacrifice fly to score Sexton, and Stearns ripped a double to score Hayward.
Cassville added more pressure in the top of the seventh, clawing out a single run to lead 5-4.
Pierce City wouldn't quit.
Young reached base on an error and Sexton walked. Hayward then flared a single into right field that scored Young.
|Both teams went three up, three down in the eighth.||Pierce City held Cassville in the top of the ninth to set the stage for its final at bat.|
Hayward finished with two single, a double, one RBI and two runs scored. Strong added two singles, three stolen bases and one run scored. Stearns contributed one home run, a double, one RBI and one run scored. Gabby Phillips, Jade Winsea, Makina Kelley and Young had a walk and a single each.
On Saturday, the Pierce City softball team won the Marionville Lady Comet Invitational tournament.
The Lady Eagles opened the tournament, defeating Wheaton 9-0.
Moreland struck out 13 of the 18 batters she faced and allowed only two hits.
Hayward led Pierce City with two walks, two stolen bases and a run scored. Moreland added a single, one run scored and two RBI.
The Lady Eagles then defeated Ash Grove 7-0, scoring three runs in the first and second innings and one in the fourth inning.
Stearns was three for three at the plate with a triple, two singles, three RBI and three runs scored. Jade Winsea added a single and three RBI.
In the championship game against Purdy, Pierce City avenged an earlier season loss, winning 5-1.
Pierce City struck for two runs in the first inning.
With two outs, Kelley hit a double. Stearns doubled to score Kelley, and Phillips doubled to score Stearns.
Purdy scratched out a run in the bottom of the first on an error, but that would be all they could muster against Pierce City.
Pierce City scored two runs in the third inning on an error and another run in the fourth.
Hayward, Stearns and Phillips each contributed an RBI.
Pierce City opens district play today against Miller. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Editor's note: Pierce City and Purdy's district bracket can be found at www.monett-times.com.