The emotions were raw for the Hannibal softball team Monday at Veterans Sports Complex following its third consecutive 1-run loss.

The emotions were raw for the Hannibal softball team Monday at Veterans Sports Complex following its third consecutive 1-run loss.

This time, Kirksville beat the Lady Pirates 9-8.

And this one especially hurt.

“We just couldn't get one more run,” Hannibal coach Kendra Murphy said, “and that's the story of our lives.”

Hannibal (6-7, 4-3 North Central Missouri Conference) fought back from an 8-1 deficit with four runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth. A Kirksville (9-6, 3-2) tally in the fifth proved to be the game-winning run, but not before a dramatic finish. 

With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Lady Pirates shortstop Olivia Pfeifer sent her fifth hit of the game into left field. Pfeifer, who stole four bases during the contest, tried to steal second to put the tying run in scoring position for freshman Taylor Simms, but the rally took a testy turn when the senior was called out for leaving first base early. 

Simms then smoked a single to left and reached second on an error — a play that surely would have allowed Pfeifer to score from second. 

Hannibal No. 3 hitter Josie Zeiger smoked a 2-out single only to have Simms thrown out at the plate on an accurate toss by Kirksville outfielder Jevin Sizemore.

“It had to be a perfect throw, and it was,” Murphy said of the final out. “Great play and credit to them.”

Hannibal's first run of the night came via a Zeiger groundout that scored Pfeifer in the first inning after Kirksville started strong with three runs in the top half. 

The Lady Tigers rattled off three straight singles in the fourth inning to spark a 4-run rally to go ahead 8-1. 

The Lady Pirates battled back. 

Pfeifer doubled home senior Tori Moore for Hannibal's second run and then came home on a Kirksville miscue. Simms scored on an error to make it 8-4 before Taylor Wilson lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Zeiger.

RBI triples by Moore and Simms and an RBI single from Pfeifer keyed a 3-run fifth to pull within one, but the comeback wasn't quite enough.

Senior Desarae Garcia took the loss on the mound for Hannibal, tossing seven innings while allowing nine runs, two of which were unearned as Hannibal's defense committed three errors.

Hannibal lost to its NCMC rival despite raking 18 hits.

Of the Lady Pirates' seven losses this season, six have come by two or fewer runs. Their past four setbacks have all been by a single tally.

“Walking people, errors, we let too many base runners get on without having outs,” Murphy said. “Once they got on, they were able to steal at their leisure to move into scoring position, and then they got timely hits to score runs.”

Hannibal hosts Highland on Tuesday.