STE. GENEVIEVE – The Valle Catholic defense executed several difficult plays through four innings on Tuesday to continue a scoreless tussle with top-ranked Potosi.
The Lady Trojans eventually seized upon miscues that were created by square contact, and moved within one step of claiming their first district championship.
Sydney Litton scattered four hits over six innings from the circle, and delivered the go-ahead single as Potosi prevailed 5-1 in the Class 1, District 5 semifinal round.
Freshman Sami Huck paced the offense by going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI, and pitched a perfect seventh for the Lady Trojans (17-1).
Valle Catholic hoped to spring a major upset as the No. 4 seed in the bracket, and produced multiple base runners in four separate frames.
Litton countered with nine strikeouts for the win, including a timely swing and miss in the top of the fourth after a bunt moved two into scoring position.
Lady Warriors hurler Hannah Wood navigated two trips through the Potosi order unscathed, but issued a walk to leadoff batter Kennedy Coleman in the fifth.
Huck followed with a slicing drive that was dropped near the left-field line, resulting in a two-base error that opened the door to a breakthrough rally.
Coleman failed to tag up from third on a sharp liner to center by Jaci Short, but scored along with Huck when Litton pounded a line drive directly off the center field fence.
Grace Eftink retrieved the ball and threw out Litton at second base, but the long single made it 2-0. Only one of the five runs scored against Wood was earned.
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The Lady Warriors (9-13) drew closer in the sixth. Mia Weiler stole second base after Wood singled, and scored when Reann Nickelson deflected an infield hit off Litton.
Litton fanned the next two batters to maintain a one-run advantage, and gained further support when Potosi produced three tallies in the home half.
Catie Mosier reached safely on a sharp ground ball that eluded the second baseman’s glove between walks to Kylee Price and Chelsea Charboneau with one out.
Huck found the left-center gap to extend a 3-1 lead with two-out insurance. Wood capped a complete-game loss with her fourth strikeout after walking six and giving up five hits.
Short doubled and Hannah Jarvis added a single and walk for Potosi, which has soundly defeated Ste. Genevieve in three previous meetings this spring.
Macy Kertz and Mallory Weiler made solid stops along the left side of the Valle infield in the second inning, and the outfield provided two more gems.
Kayleen Warren made a running catch along the right-field line to deny Emma Eaton with the bases loaded in the third inning. Eftink later flagged down a bullet off Price’s bat in left-center.
Nickelson went 2-for-3 overall, and Eftink lined a two-out double in the second inning for the Lady Warriors.
Light rain fell for about 30 minutes of the contest as a large thunderstorm passed just to the south of Ste. Genevieve.