Hillsboro (20-6) pushed across the game winner in the bottom of the seventh inning of the Class 4, District 1 semifinal to close out a stellar season by the Lady Bulldogs.
"I told the girls that there is nothing to hang their heads about," said Sikeston coach Tiffany Glastetter. "They had a great season."
On Wednesday, Sikeston (16-5) captured it's first-ever district win, a come-from-behind 8-6 victory over Jackson, but today it was the Lady Hawks who staged the comeback.
"We got a little scare," said Hillsboro coach Cindy Rugraff. "Sikeston played us really tough. It was a great ballgame."
Sikeston, the visiting team, took the early lead with a third-inning run. With two outs, Barbara Hobbs reached on an errant throw to first base, then stole second.
Lefty-swinging Paige Silverthorn's towering triple to the right-field fence plated Hobbs for the 1-0 advantage.
In the bottom half of the inning, Hillsboro threatened, but a hustle play by catcher Silverthorn allowed Sikeston to escape unscathed.
Hillsboro's Whitney Bedbury beat out an infield hit, then advanced to second and third on wild pitches. A third wild pitch went to the backstop, but Silverthorn retrieved the ball and tagged the sliding Bedbury out at the plate to retire the side.
Hillsboro kept the pressure on with eight hits, but the Lady Bulldogs' dogged defense came to the rescue time after time, stranding 10 Lady Hawk baserunners.
"They were playing real sharp defense to stay in the ballgame," said Rugraff.
Hillsboro finally broke through with the tying run in the fifth. Chelsea Lively, who led off with a line single to center, was sacrificed to second, then scored on a double to the right-centerfield gap by Kimmy Froelich.
But, again, the Sikeston defense, along with a gutsy pitching performance by Molly Brinkmeyer, defused another potential big inning, leaving three Lady Hawks on the basepaths.
In the seventh, a single and a Sikeston throwing error on a force play attempt put runners on second and third with one out.
An infield single loaded the bases prior to Brandi Mayer's game-winning basehit up the middle.
Sikeston never got its offense untracked, managing only three hits -- four baserunners -- off starter and winner Amanda Clack. Besides Silverthorn's triple, the only extra-base hit, Ali Blurton singled twice. Said Glastetter, "The girls were putting it in play and they (Hillsboro) were just getting to everything. That's good defense."
Clack, a junior who came in with a 1.26 ERA, got 14 groundball outs, struck out four and walked none.
Losing pitcher Brinkmeyer allowed the two earned runs on eight hits. She struck out four and walked one.
"Today, we came out and showed Hillsboro what we were made of," said Glastetter, "but things just fell their way. Sometimes a team will get breaks and they got their breaks. Hillsboro is a great team."
Hillsboro meets No. 2-seed Poplar Bluff, 4-3 winner over Cape Central, for the district championship on Saturday at 11 a.m.
PERRYVILLE -- Top-seeded Kelly had no trouble with No. 5 East Prairie in a 15-0 mercy-rule win in its Class 2, District 1 opener on Thursday.
Aided by 12 walks, the Lady Hawks scored eight runs in the first and seven in the second to put the game away.
Kelly Essner allowed no hits, struck out seven and walked one in the three-inning shutout.
Essner (2-for-2) and Kalie Hughes (2-for-3) split the Lady Hawks' four hits.
Kelly (20-6) meets undefeated No. 2-seed Valley Park (24-0), 3-1 winner over St. Vincent, in the championship game on Saturday at 11 a.m.