Madison Baack may not have hit the game-winning run, but her walk was enough for South Tama to beat West Marshall in Tuesday's 13-inning contest.
The battle of the Trojans nearly lasted two full games after the squads were tied 7-7 after 7 innings. Six innings later, Baack drew a walk with bases loaded, scoring Hailee Weiss from third and winning 8-7.
"I am so happy with our effort," head coach Chelsea Ahrens said. "Playing 13 innings can be mentally exhausting. Every inning, we kept trying to put runners on and never gave up. I'm happy that we were able to execute in the last inning. I'm so proud of these girls."
South Tama's Madison Baack lays down a bunt during Tuesday's game against West Marshall. Baack earned the game-winning walk in the bottom of the 13th inning to score Hailee Weiss from third base. STC won the game 8-7.
The STC players were ecstatic after the game.
"That was so awesome," said Jade Rohach, who hit a crucial three-run home run Tuesday. "I feel so happy right now."
West Marshall loaded the bases in the top of the 13th inning, before STC pitcher Jenn Maus struck out the last batter, ending the half inning.
"I got a little tired, but I knew I had to pull it through," Maus said. "In the last inning, I had to get out of a jam. I just had to strike the girl out."
Weiss led off the bottom of the 13th inning with a single. After a groundball out, Trisha Walz hit a ball that dribbled in front of the plate, but she reached first and moved Weiss to second base. On the next pitch, Riley Craun was hit in the head, loading the bases.
Baack was up to the plate next. She watched several pitches fly past her and fouled two off during her at-bat. Facing a full count, Baack watched a high pitch sail past her, earning her game-winning walk. Weiss trotted to home, where her teammates joined her for a celebration.
"Hailee led off two or three innings with a hit, but we weren't able to get her over to second," Ahrens said. "We had some chances. Then Trisha gets a little hit and Riley gets hit and bases are loaded.
"I like to say Maddie has our best eye," she said. "She's one of our most patient hitters. She struck out looking twice earlier in the game, so she was the perfect person to have in that situation, especially with only one out. We had Maus on deck, so I knew we had a good hitter behind her if she couldn't come up with that hit."
West Marshall led early in the game and never trailed until the final inning. The WM Trojans scored three runs in the top of the first inning with their first trio of batters. Maus hit a two RBI double in the third inning to score Walz and Craun and close the gap to 3-2.
West Marshall responded with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning, increasing its lead to 5-2. However, STC came right back in the fifth inning. Rohach drilled a three-run home run over the left-center field wall, scoring Craun and Baack and tying the game.
"It was so awesome," Rohach said. "I haven't hit a home run since like tee ball. To finally get a home run my junior year was so awesome. It was right on my sweet spot."
Both teams scored two more runs in the sixth, keeping the contest tied. Weiss and Walz scored for STC.
"That three-run deficit in the first inning was tough, but we fought back," Ahrens said. "In other games, we've given up a couple more the next inning or two, but we came back and tied the game with Jade's big home run.
"Coaching a game like that is a lot of fun," she said. "That's what I told the girls after the game. This game had some defensive plays and we got out of a couple jams."
After the sixth inning, Maus struck out six batters and kept the STC Trojans out of trouble. Pitching 13 innings did take its toll on her, but she was happy to get the win.
"It was so exciting," Maus said. "I'm so relieved. It was tough to pitch that long, but I knew I had my defense behind me. I just tried to throw strikes and hope for the best."
STC travels to rival Grinnell on Thursday night before heading to Grundy Center on Friday.