On a cool windy evening in Hillsboro, the Tigers season would come to a close just before midnight. The District tournament would open with two extra inning ball games pushing the Tigers scheduled 7pm start time back to just 8 minutes before 9pm. The De Soto Dragons would prevail 10-8 in 8 innings over the North County Raiders earning a spot in the semi-final night cap against the Tigers. The game following had plenty of dramatic moments to share but in the end the Hillsboro Hawks would win an 8 inning affair with the Windsor Owls with a walk-off single to win 5-4 and advance to the District 2 Championship to be played on Thursday at 4:30.
Tigers hosted the Dragons and the long awaited match-up of the evening was one that left a lot of fans, players and coaches walking away with a sour taste of what this season hoped to end. Abby Rickermann would get things started in the bottom half of the first inning with a HBP, proceed to steal second base and advance to third on the throwing error attempting to catch her stealing. Tigers were in business early with their lead-off runner on third. Cailey McFadden would do what she has done all career long, battled with two strikes and drove in the first run on a single to left field putting the Tigers on top early 1-0.
De Soto would waste no time with their answer, in the top of the second inning the Dragons put together three hits, a walk and took advantage of an early error to score 3 runs. This was the story for most of the evening, critical errors and key hits for the Dragons would make things tough for the Tigers to overcome.
In the bottom of the 3rd the Tigers would chip away at the two run lead when the Tigers were able to string together some quality at bats and load the bases. It looked as though this could be a turning point and momentum builder for the Tigers but when the Tigers could only push one across it left the score 3-2 Dragons through 3. Tristan Foulk would have the lone run batted in this inning scoring Rickermann. Blair Baumer would have a lead off single that got the inning started only to be forced out later in the inning on a bunt fielder’s choice that De Soto’s pitcher Charleville was able to make a great athletic play on, spoiling any big inning aspirations the Tigers had.
In the 4th the Dragons tacked on two more runs pushing the score at 5-2 headed to the bottom of the 4th. As the Tigers have done all season long, they battled and were able to scratch a run back in the bottom half. Senior Caitlin Holt would lead off with a single and Morgan Green would back that up with a single up the middle giving the Tigers first and third with no one out and the Tigers were threatening with another chance to have a big inning. Rickermann would hit a hard ground-ball to shortstop but was a half step short of legging it out for a single but was able to score Holt from third on the play.
The Tigers defense in a 5-3 game would struggle to make some plays down the stretch and De Soto was able to score one in the 5th, 3 in the 6th and 3 more in the 7th inning and had some timely hitting in key situations.
In the end the Dragons would prevail 12-3 ending the tigers season around 10:45 on October 10th. Tigers went 11-9 on the year and were the 2018 Conference Champions.
Thank you to all the fans for supporting this great group of girls all year long. We look forward to seeing everyone back out next fall. Thank you to our 4 seniors for what they have given to this program and all the memories they have provided. Caitlin Holt, Erica Fletcher and Cailey McFadden were key players of the program that won 2 District Championships and a Conference Championship as members of the softball team.
Abby Rickermann with her stolen base in the first inning, officially became the Festus Tigers All-Time Stolen base leader with her 91st career stolen base. Previous record holder Cheyenne Pratt played softball for the Iowa Hawkeyes after graduating from Festus High School.
Abby Rickermann would lead the team in hitting for the season batting .534, followed by seniors Erica Fletcher and Cailey McFadden.
McFadden closed out her career in the circle for the Tigers with a total of 37 wins over 4 years, winning at least 8 games in each season.
Hillsboro and De Soto will play for the Class 3 District 2 Championship in Hillsboro at 4:30 on Thursday afternoon.