SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After a game-tying two-run homer from Bri Batson in the bottom of the seventh that ultimately sent the game to extra innings, Webb City’s efforts fell just short in the Class 4 state final against Webster Groves. The final dance for the Cardinals ended in a 5-4 loss and saw a state runner-up finish at the Killian Softball Complex on Friday morning.
Webb City looked for state title number three in program history, and returned to state for the first time since 2013. And both teams relied on their aces once more in the pitcher’s circle. Webster Groves’ Madelyn Buske threw a complete game behind 12 total strikeouts while Webb City’s Haidyn Berry ended the game with eight strikeouts and allowed 12 hits.
“We grew from that — from that first time at practice August 10, we grew,” Webb City senior pitcher Haidyn Berry said. “That’s what we wanted to do out here today.”
It was not until the the top of the third with runners on second and third when Webster’s Hannah Jansen broke the silence with a shot out to right center field. Two runs scored to give the Statesmen an early 2-0 lead.
But then Berry stepped up in the bottom part of the same inning and delivered an RBI single between the infielders to make it a one-run game.
As the game approached the seventh inning, the Statesmen generated another run at the front end before Batson played hero ball and gave the fans free softball. In the top of the eighth inning, Webster Groves collected two runs and put the Cardinals in a similar situation of being down two runs, 5-3.
With runners on first and second, Hannah Wells ripped a roller out towards the wall that brought in Alyssa Jennings to cut the lead back to one-run. When Webb City went down to its final out in the eighth, Batson entered the batter’s box and had two runners in scoring position. A chance to save the season for a second time in the game did not come to fruition as Batson popped it out-of-play and Webster Groves tracked it down.
“I want them to remembered as the team that was so much fun to watch because they are,” Webb City head softball coach Shauna Friend said. “They’re just a great group of young ladies on and off the field. They’re not only talented, but they also have the character that you want to see in a team.”