By Jacob Govero
Forsyth, Mo. — A long day of softball came to an end early Friday as Crane defeated Blue Eye 11-1 in five innings to win the District 9 championship hosted by Forsyth. The Lady Pirates were led to the victory by sophomore hurler Olivia Edwards, who battled through a torn tendon in her foot, as they stymied a young Bulldog squad.
“It was really sore, but I just had to tough it out,” Edwards said of her injury. “I was ready to play but it was definitely hard coming back from it.”
It had been over two weeks since she last threw, but she pitched seven innings in a 5-0 Game 1 victory over Galena earlier in the day and was seen icing her foot before the championship game.
Crane jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning. Blue Eye starter Emily Helms struggled to find the strike zone early, walking the bases loaded and then walking in the first run of the game. Maggie Vaught came in off a walk to Erin Akin as Crane went up 1-0.
A single by Madison Moreland scored Mackinzie Funcannon and Shelby Ellingsworth to make it a 3-0 game. Moreland would come around off a single by Katie Robinson to bring the score to 4-0 as the first inning ended.
Crane head coach Hannah Keeth knew they needed to score first.
“They played a long game before this and we knew they would have a lot of adrenaline,” she said. “We had to come out and jump on them quick and not give them a chance. We hit the ball really hard and I felt that was what we were going to have to do to win this tournament.”
Blue Eye had just finished a nine-inning thriller defeating the host school Forsyth 9-8 in Game 2 of the day. Forsyth nearly came back twice on the Bulldogs, a team that only graduates one senior.
“I’m very proud how our team played against Forsyth and I was hoping we’d continue that momentum against Crane, but after a couple walks and errors it just got out of hand pretty quick,” Blue Eye head coach Amanda Reagan said reflecting on her team’s performance.
The Lady Pirates would tack on six more runs in the bottom of the second inning capped off by a passed ball that scored Katie Robinson making it a 10-0 game at that point.
Blue Eye showed some life in the bottom of the third as Jaden Box crushed her fifth home run of the season to left-center field, making it a 10-1 score and pumping some life into her Bulldog teammates.
Crane added another run in the bottom of the third. A double by Moreland scored Akin making it 11-1.
Edwards closed out Blue Eye in the fifth inning sealing the championship for her team.
“We haven’t made it this far since 2010, so this is really exciting for all of us but we are ready for next week,” said Edwards.
Crane improved to 14-3 with the victory and will host Purdy Monday in sectionals.
Blue Eye closes out their season at 8-10 on a high note winning second place in districts and returning all but one player next year.
CRANE – 11, BLUE EYE-1
Blue Eye – 00100 – 1 2 2
Crane – 4610x – 11 10 0
2B- Crane: Moreland, Akin, 3B-Crane: Funcannon, HR- Blue Eye: Box
WP: Olivia Edwards 1R, 5 IP, 2 H, 2 K