The sixth-seeded Rock Creek Mustangs almost completed an improbable run at the Class 3A state title on Saturday.
But in the end, after what turned into an unforgettable and marathon of a game, it was the top-seeded Hillsboro Trojans who were left standing.
Seven innings wasn’t enough to decide this one, as Hillsboro defeated the Mustangs 3-2 in 13 innings to claim the 3A title on a hot day at Anneberg Park.
Rock Creek rallied to tie the game up at 2-2 in the seventh inning. And as the sun baked down, neither team was willing to give up as they went into six extra innings.
The score remained tied until in the bottom of the 13th when Hillsboro senior Stephanie Sanders, dashed around third and with a Rock Creek throwing error, reached home plate to score the winning run.
Excited teammates rushed the field behind her from their dugout.
“I was very proud of Stef to see that and to have the heads up to be there,” Hillsboro head coach Stephanie Sinclair said about Sanders’ decision to make the run from second.
Overall, Rock Creek left 16 runners on base. The Mustangs had two hits in the 12th inning and two more in the 13th, but were unable to push any of the runners across the plate.
“We were pretty inefficient in the offensive manufacturing of runs,” Rock Creek coach Jeri Brummett said. “Those little things will bite you.”
Rock Creek freshman pitcher Blair Campbell held strong throughout the 13 innings in the circle, and with only one strikeout, her teammates had her back on the defensive end, not allowing a Hillsboro runner to score for eight straight innings.
“Every inning I asked her if she was all right,” Brummett said. “She said, ‘yes’ and I believed her.”
Hillsboro’s first two runs came early, scoring the first in the third inning and the second run in the fourth.
The Mustangs scored one in the fifth inning and then tied the game in the seventh inning when senior infielder Bailey Elliot singled to bring home junior infielder Megan Srna.
The Mustangs, finishing the season 19-7 overall, took home the second place trophy, and despite a tough loss, Brummett said she was proud of her team this season.
“It was a battle of warriors there,” Brummett said. “No group’s matched them yet — they’re the best we’ve ever had.”
ROCK CREEK 10,
SILVER LAKE 4
After taking down No. 3-seed Goodland on Friday night, Rock Creek had another offensively-sound game Saturday morning, as the Mustangs defeated Silver Lake 10-4 to advance to the 3A championship game.
Silver Lake totaled five errors in the game and the Mustangs took advantage quickly, as they scored their first two runs in the first inning.
The Mustangs only gave up two errors overall, and their defense held the Eagles back — led by a complete game effort from senior Katie Hodges in the circle.
The Mustangs shined in the fourth inning, scoring four runs and creating the their largest lead of the game at 8-1. Runs from senior Bailey Elliot and freshman Alexis Wilson in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, secured the Mustangs’ semifinal win.