PARK HILLS – Conference co-champions Farmington Knights and Central Lady Rebels did not disappoint their fans in Wednesday’s Conference Tournament championship game as they matched home run for home run for five-plus innings, but it was a double by Randi Scruggs in the bottom of the sixth which was the decision maker as the Knights won the title 5-4 to even the two team’s season contests at two wins each.
“I think it’s anybody’s game any day (when we play them), I don’t think either team is better than the other. They’re both fantastic teams and I think any day either team can play their game, they are going to win that game,” stated Farmington Coach Lindsey Albee.
Scruggs hit a line drive into the gap in right-center for her second double of the game that plated Emily Briese from second base to score what would be the winning run. Briese had walked to reach base, and advanced to second when Sophia White also drew a second free pass.
Farmington pitcher Hannah Hight sealed the win as she struck out two Central hitters to start the seventh, and then got the final out on a harmless ground ball to Allison Pingel at first. HIght struck out four batters and gave up six hits and no walks in pitching all seven innings for the win.
Both Hight and Central pitcher Kylie House mastered their opponent’s hitters for most of the first four innings until both teams turned on the power.
Brittany Link started the home run derby as she belted a solo shot over the right-center fence with two outs in the bottom of the fourth for her seventh home run of the year, but the Knights’ instant lead was soon demolished as Mady Hart led off the top of the fifth with a matching home run to left center.
The Lady Rebels (17-3) took their only lead in the game in the top of the sixth. Kimmy Wallen slapped a single through the hole at second and Karrisa Belfield laid down a sacrifice bunt which she beat out for a single. Clean-up hitter Olivia Casey sent Central fans into celebration as she launched a blast to straight-away center for a three-run home run.
Farmington (18-4) did not quit, as Pingel led off the bottom of the inning with a single and Link reached on a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, Alyson Tucker knotted the score up at 4-4 with a three-run shot to left center, setting up Scruggs’ clincher. Scruggs (2-3) was the only player on either team to have multiple hits.
“Our girls have learned to put each inning behind them, not to live in the past, but to come to bat thinking it’s a 0-0 game instead of a being a behind game,” said Coach Albee. “I just have so much confidence in our seniors. Randi has just been dynamite in our No. 1 spot. She’s hitting the ball with power, and hitting it on the line. When she came up to bat in that spot, I just knew we were going to do it.”