The Mexico varsity softball team has a history of playing close games just like they have a history of winning close games and that's true of both the regular and postseason.
Perhaps that's why the Lady Bulldogs players and coaches appear to be so comfortable in those situations, but last Thursday at host Southern Boone in the semifinals of Class 3, District 8, after receiving a round one bye the only way things could've been closer is if the game went to extra innings. That's not an exaduration, either. This contest was as scoreless as can be until the seventh inning, and then, and only then, did the fact Mexico outhit the opposition 6-4 finally matter.
That's because it was then that Paytience Lawson-Holman put some kind of crazy exclamation mark on her already spectacular 17-strikeout pitching performance by connecting on the key hit that drove home the game winning run as the Lady Bulldogs just barely managed to edge out Southern Boone 1-0.
"This was a pitcher’s duel all night. Southern Boone was able to get a lead-off hit in the first three innings, but due to the ability of Paytience to generate the strikeout we were able to keep Southern Boone scoreless," said coach Keith Louder. "We had opportunities during the course of the game as well but were unable to get a key hit in those innings to plate a run."
While this is certainly going to be a contest that Lawson-Holman is going to remember for quite some time, that's because she only allowed four hits and no walks while earning this complete-game decision. She was also 1-for-4 with one RBI, but in a game where offense was in short supply, quantity and quality became one in the same.
"The bottom of the seventh saw Taylor Sherrow reach on a Southern Boone error. She then moved to third on a Reghan Smith single to deep center, moving Sherrow to third," Louder said. "Aaryn Sampo followed with a four pitch walk. Lawson-Holman then hit a hot shot under the glove of the drawn in shortstop for the game winner."
In a game such as this the heroes were many and included Sherrow going 1-for-3 with a run, Sampo added two walks and a sacrifice bunt in one at-bat and Mattie Roth and Logan Blevins both went 1-for-3. Smith also charted a single, one walk and a sacrifice bunt in two trips to the plate, Hayley Mills gave a 1-for-3 performance with a double and Abby Oetting added a walk.
Mexico, 22-4 overall, next played Helias, 19-5 overall, on Saturday for the district title at Southern Boone.