Postseason competition can bring out the best in some teams, and after upsetting the South Callaway, 12-9 overall, varsity softball team 5-2 in the first round of Class 2, District 8, on Oct. 10, Hallsville, 7-14 overall, appeared to have stepped up its game, which bad news for North Callaway, 13-12 overall.
The Ladybird's had the good fortune to draw a bye for the opening round of districts and were just beginning the playoffs when these teams went head-to-head in the district semifinals last Thursday in Mokane at South Callaway. The Lady Indians, on the other hand, were dialed in and ready to go. But, once the action began both squads scored a run in the first inning and then went scoreless for the next three.
That's what made North Callaway's run in the fifth was so important because it was the only other score of the game and allowed the squad to defeat Hallsville 2-1. The Ladybird's biggest problem in this game was that they stranded 12 runners, a fact they could only counter with the pitching prowess of Kenzie Ausfahl.
"We have to find a way to get our runners home," said coach Mariah McKee. "Both pitchers pitched a good game, especially Ausfahl."
In order to earn this complete-game win for North Callaway Ausfahl struck out 13 against just two hits and no walks allowed. The one run she allowed wasn't earned, either as Hallsville's Marlene Kilpack reached base on a bunt down the third base line and later scored when the Ladybird's made two errors, the teams only errors for the game, on the same play.
On the other side of things Lanie Wilson went 3-for-4 with the only three defensive putouts for North Callaway beyond the infield. She also scored the game-winning run in the fifth after singling and stealing second by advancing to third on a passed ball and then scoring on a double play. Claire Mosier and Heather Thurman both went 1-for-3, as well, and Ausfahl added a hit, one run and three walks in one at-bat.
In the other semifinals game last Thursday Father Tolton, 15-6 overall, beat New Bloomfield, 13-11 overall, 10-2. North Callaway and Father Tolton next faced off for the district title on Saturday at South Callaway.