Marion County scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning for a thrilling 15-14 win over Bucklin in the Class 1 District 10 quarterfinals.
Two weeks ago Bucklin gave Marion County a heart-breaking loss in the LaPlata Tournament. With the season on the line, the Lady Mustangs returned the favor Wednesday night.
Marion County scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning for a thrilling 15-14 win over Bucklin in the first game of the Class 1 District 10 Tournament.
Bucklin raced out to a 10-0 lead after three innings.
“We struggled defensively at the beginning,” Marion County coach Erin Cunningham said of the early deficit. “We had a few errors and spotted them the lead.”
Facing the mercy rule and elimination, the Lady Mustangs started their rally in the top of the fifth inning.
Kaylin Glaspie put Marion County on the board with a 3-run double. She would later score on an error.
The Lady Mustang bats kept it going from there.
Payton Hays pulled Marion County to within 11-6 with a 2-out, 2-run triple in the top of the sixth. Glaspie and Makayla Corey followed with run-scoring hits to trim the deficit to 11-8.
After Bucklin pulled ahead 12-8 with a single tally in the last of the sixth, the bottom third of the Marion County order set the table in the seventh inning.
Elizabeth Corey and Sadie Spratt started the seventh-inning rally with singles. Marion County No. 8 hitter Delaney Huffman worked a walk to load the bases.
Two batters later Crook smacked a 1-out, bases-clearing triple to bring the Lady Mustangs to within 12-11.
Hays followed with her fifth hit of the game to tie the contest. With two outs, Makayla Corey gave Marion County its first lead of the game with a single to center. Deanna Huffman doubled home Corey for a 14-12 lead and would later score the final run on an error.
For added dramatics, Bucklin scored two in the last of the seventh to pull within 15-14, but the game ended on a batter interference call.
Cunningham mentioned the fifth inning changed the complexion of the rest of the game.
“When the bats woke up in the fifth to keep the game going it gave all the girls the confidence they could come back,” the veteran coach said. “The defense started to pick up and the bats just kept going.”
Hays, who finished a perfect 5-for-5 with three runs and three RBI, said it was a total team win.
“This win would never have been achieved if we hadn’t worked hard as a team,” the junior said. “We were definitely down in the beginning but when we started playing as a team and encouraging one another there wasn’t much that could get in our way.”
Crook, Makayla Corey, Glaspie and Spratt all joined Hays with multiple hits. The Lady Mustangs offense pounded out a season-best 17 hits in the win.
“Everyone was hitting the ball tonight.” Hays added. “And I can’t wait to see what we can pull off tomorrow.”
Deanna Huffman picked up the win inside the circle and struck out a career-high 11 batters.
Marion County (4-16) faces top seed LaPlata in the semifinals on Thursday.