By Matt Turer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
REPUBLIC, Mo. — Eight combined home runs, 26 runs, 30 hits and five lead changes.
Ozark and Republic put on a show Tuesday night with the COC title on the line.
Makenna Harmon drove in five runs, Madison Reese brought home three more, Abby Ford scored four times and three Ozark Tigers went yard in a 14-12 win over Republic that guaranteed them at least a share of the conference title.
If Republic beats Carl Junction in a game initially postponed on September 6, it will split the title with Ozark.
Harmon’s two-run single in the top of the seventh provided the game-winning runs for Ozark in a game they trailed 7-1 after the first inning.
“I couldn’t ask for a more enjoyable game, but at the same time, any more stressful,” Ozark coach Jimmy Nimmo said. “I knew when were down 7-1, we still had a chance.”
Ozark pitcher Hattie Depee earned the win after coming on in early relief with just one out in the first. Depee limited Republic to six runs over the final 6.2 innings after entering with a 6-1 deficit.
Ozark battled back with four runs in the second and four more in the third to quickly regain a 9-7 lead.
Republic responded with runs in the third and the fourth to pull even at 9-9. Then in the fifth, home runs from Nya Morgan and Harmon pushed Ozark back ahead, 11-9.
“I was seeing the ball really well, waiting for my pitches,” Harmon said. “We didn’t think we’d be able to string this many wins together, but we’ve got the bus going now. In the first half of the season we were down but we’ve got it all together.”
Julia Higgins and Republic matched in the bottom half when the senior lined a two-run single to center. An inning later, Republic took a 12-11 lead on A.J. Fenske’s second homer of the game.
“I had no doubt we’d tie the game (after Fenske put Republic ahead),” Nimmo said. “We’ve worked the lineups a lot of different ways this year and felt good.”
Ford’s four runs came off a double and three singles at the plate.
“They did a good job hitting the ball,” Republic coach Lee Dishman said. “If we make a play here or there we have a chance to win. Our hitters came out and hit and played well. Their hitters did too. It was a good ballgame, it was just a slugfest.”
Higgins and Fenske homered twice for Republic. Avery Romans also went deep. Higgins finished with six RBIs.
Kaitlin Ragsdale was 4-for-5 with two runs, two RBIs and three steals.
Republic’s five home runs helped the 2018 Tigers set a new single-season home run record with 30.
With 11 home runs, Higgins is two homers away from tying the Republic individual single-season mark.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
OZRK 1 4 4 0 2 0 3 14 16 1
RPBL 7 0 1 1 2 1 0 12 14 5
Ozark – Top 1st
Abby Taylor singled to center, Abby Ford scored — 1-0 Ozark
Republic – Bottom 1st
Julia Higgins homered to left, Kaitlin Ragsdale and Emma White scored — 3-1 Republic
A.J. Fenske homered to center — 4-1 Republic
Avery Romans homered to left, Megan Thorne scored — 6-1 Republic
Ragsdale singled to right, Riley Laub scored — 7-1 Republic
Ozark – Top 2nd
Tiffany Nichols singled to center, Kara Ford scored — 7-2 Republic
Makenna Harmon doubled to left, Nichols and Kenna Mayfield scored — 7-4 Republic
Madison Reese hit a sac fly to center, Abby Ford scored — 7-5 Republic
Ozark – Top 3rd
Emily Schmucker homered to center, Ashlei Coonrod scored — 7-7 tie
Reese singled to right, Mayfield and Abby Ford scored — 9-7 Ozark
Republic – Bottom 3rd
Ragsdale singled to center, Laub scored — 9-8 Ozark
Republic – Bottom 4th
Higgins homered to center — 9-9 tie
Ozark – Top 5th
Nya Morgan homered to center — 10-9 Ozark
Harmon homered to center — 11-9 Ozark
Republic – Bottom 5th
Higgins singled to center, Laub and Ragsdale scored — 11-11 tie
Republic – Bottom 6th
Fenske homered to right — 12-11 Republic
Ozark – Top 7th
Harmon singled to left, Nichols and Abby Ford scored — 13-12 Ozark
Mayfield scores on error — 14-12 Ozark