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Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

Girls softball: Heartland Nationals split doubleheader

Friday, July 23, 2010

(Photo)
Shiann Clayborn delivers a pitch to a hitter from Rose Hill, Kan., on Thursday night in pool play of the 10U Midwest Plains Regional.
(David Jenkins, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Opening up pool play in the Midwest Plains Regional Tournament Thursday afternoon, the Heartland Nationals split a double header with the Rose Hill Strikers and the Sante Fe All-Stars.

The Nationals started the afternoon with a solid win over Rose Hill, beating the Strikers 9-5.

"We just started out banging the ball hard," Heartland coach Laura Brown said. "(Rose Hill's) first four of their five runs were walked in. We had kind of a real dry patch there where we struggled with our pitching and then we transitioned to another pitcher.

"I think she walked one in and then finally found a good spot."

In their second game, the Nationals would battle back from a two-run deficit to tie it up in the top of the fourth, only to see Santa Fe tack two more runs on in the bottom of the inning to win 7-5.

"We didn't play badly," Brown said. "We just didn't do what we should have done like throw strikes and keep it simple."

After falling behind 5-3 after two innings, the Nationals would rally for a run in both the third and fourth frames to bring it to a 5-5 tie.

In the bottom of the inning, however, a bases-loaded walk would score the winning run for the All-Stars, followed by a single up the third-base side to bring in a second run to make up the final.

Heartland had one last chance to rally in the fifth, but after Malia Legrand reach on a one-out walk, a base running miscue on a misplayed ball by Sante Fe's first baseman during the next at-bat would lead to the Nationals' lead runner being thrown out at third base.

The Nationals' lead-off hitter in the next at-bat would ground out to the second baseman ending their comeback bid with the game being called on a hour-and-a-half time-limit.

"You can play as hard as you want to play," Brown said. "But when you have to fight back like that you have to be flawless and we weren't."