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Webster Tops Kirkwood 5-4 In Extra Innings

Webster's Elise Keller, #27, has a close call at home base as she tries to avoid a tag from Kirkwood's Casey Ginder. photo by Diana Linsley.

September 14, 2018
Webster Groves Coach Bryan Gibson saw his high school girls softball team poised for a win on the final at bat of the Sept. 6 game against rival Kirkwood.

Gibson watched center fielder Molly McPheeters fight off an inside fastball from Pioneers hurler Rayne Grus to send the ball down the left field line. The hit scored Julia Love from second base with the winning run.

McPheeters' game-winning double on a two ball, two strike count ended a spine-tingling battle with a 5-4 victory in the 10th inning at Plymouth Field.

"That was a good at-bat," Gibson said. "She got her hands inside and pulled the ball."

"I was hoping to at least hit the ball somewhere to advance the runners," McPheeters said. "But it felt great when I hit the ball and scored the winning run."

Webster Groves had its share of chances to end the game in regulation. The Statesmen left runners in scoring position in the previous three innings before McPheeters' heroics.

Lead-off hitter Kelly Collins led Webster's 13-hit attack with three hits in six at-bats. She had two runs batted in and scored one run.

The game saw 10 errors between the two rivals, with six coming from Kirkwood. Both teams ran themselves out of scoring chances with aggressive base running.

"We have a lot of speed, so I daily encourage them to be aggressive and tell them I'm never mad at them being aggressive," said Kirkwood Coach Amy Leatherberry. "We're looking to bring intensity every day."

Kirkwood overcame a 4-1 deficit after two innings to tie the score 4-4 through four innings. In the third inning, Pioneer Jessie Hopper led off with a single and scored on a triple from Kasey Ginder. Ginder promptly scored on a sacrifice fly from Lindsay McCarthy to cut the deficit to 4-3.

In the fourth, Elsa Church opened with a double and one out, and later scored on a single from Olivia Hiscox. Hiscox led Kirkwood's nine-hit attack with two hits and two runs batted in.

Kirkwood (7-6), which suffered three straight one-run losses last week the last two in extra innings rebounded by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Suburban Showcase after providing a 1-1 record in pool play on Sept. 11. The Pioneers lost 12-0 to Hillsboro in the quarterfinals, but rebounded with a 3-2 win over Lafayette in the consolation semifinals on Sept. 11. The Pioneers were to play Fox for fifth place on Sept. 12.

The Statesmen, though, lost their next three games and fell to 3-6 through Sept. 11. Webster Groves was to face Lindbergh in the ninth-place Suburban Showcase semifinal on Sept. 12.

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