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For perhaps the first-time ever, four teams in Lincoln County won district championships in one sport….and it took the young ladies on the high school softball teams to accomplish this feat.
In Class 1, Silex Lady Owls rallied in the bottom of the seventh and claimed a 6-5 victory over Sturgeon on a walk-off home run by Lindsey Barnhart. Silex was down three when Aly Miller got on base via a walk and Ashley Gentry singled as a pinch hitter. Natalie Fleming drove them in with a double before Barnhart hit her dramatic home run. Sturgeon struck first with a three-run home run in the first and added single tallies in the sixth and seventh innings.
Fleming went three for four with two doubles. Barnhart had a double in addition to her home run. Madison Henke had two hits with a double and two RBIs.
“This was the first time we had come from behind this season and this was certainly the right time,” said Coach Robert James.
Fleming was the winning pitcher. She allowed eight hits, struck out three and gave up five earned runs. “We hit the ball hard but Sturgeon did a good job defensively throughout the game,” added James.
Silex advanced with a 5-0 win over Madison in the semifinals. Fleming struck out six and gave up only one hit. Barnhart had three RBIs and a double Madison Henke getting a single, double and triple.
Prior to the districts, Silex picked up a 6-4 win over a good Union team and they defeated Bowling Green for third place. Early in the tournament, Melanie Miller picked up her first varsity win and Fleming had four hits including double, triple, home run and seven RBIs.
In Class 2, Elsberry won their district title with a 10-0 win over Principia at Elsberry. They also defeated Louisiana 10-0 in the semifinals. Weather forced the district title game to be pushed back to Monday but the Lady Indians, having placed second in the previous two years, found the wait to be rewarding. In both district games, Becca Almus was dominating on the mound. Offensively, Elsberry jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first inning and added three more in the fifth inning.
“Becca is a good pitcher and she works the ball in and out of the zone well,” said Elsberry Coach Trudy Bull adding the team played very well defensively behind her.
In Class 3, Winfield also had to wait two nights due to the weather but came out smoking Monday with a 13-1 win over Warrenton in five innings. After a scoreless top of the first by Warrenton, Winfield went ahead quickly 1-0 when leadoff hitter Sarah Entwistle drilled a shot over the right centerfield wall. They added three more before the third out was made. Warrenton had a mild threat in the second but stranded two runners against Mackenzie Hoelting. Later, Maria Tippit and Chelsey Bowman would also reach the fence for home runs, helping Winfield to a 9-0 lead.
Mackenzie Hoelting gave up only one hit and struck out four enroute to the win. Bowman drove in three runs with Tippit and Libby Marko driving in two runs each. As a team, Winfeld banged out 14 hits. They advanced to the title game with a 12-2 win over Fulton. Entwistle drove in two runs with two triples. Bowman had three hits, a home run and five RBIs. Annie Rhoades drove in two runs.
In Class 4, Troy Buchanan took the first step toward defense of their state title with a 4-0 win over Wentzville Timberland. Ashley Murphy put Troy ahead 2-0 in the second with a home run and had three RBIs in the game. Morgan Oliver, who set a new state record for most RBIs in a single season (66) also drove in one run. Nicole Schulte had two hits. Liz Wiegand, returning recently from an injury to the elbow on her throwing arm, showed no rust, picking up the win. She gave up one hit and struck out five. Troy advanced to the title game with a 10-0 win over Fort Zumwalt North. Troy had 15 hits with Rachel Sullivan perfect with RBIs and Schulte also drove in two. Wiegand picked up the win.
“There was a strong effort in all areas on the field,” said Coach Lance Richardson. “I thought Elizabeth pitched her best game of the season.”
Silex came out victorious in their game against Harrisburg with a final score of 6-1. They moved on to play St. Elizabeth on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Silex and won 2-0. Silex will play in Springfield on Friday, Oct. 19 at 10 a.m.
Elsberry was stopped by Palmyra with a 16-0 score.
Winfield ended their season against Centralia with a 1-0 loss.
Troy fell short against Francis Howell with a 4-0 loss in their sectional game.