Fort Osage softball rallies past Oak Grove in 7th

By Bill Althaus
Emma James rounds third and charges in with the winning run off Lindsey Barker's hit, capping Fort Osage's four-run rally in the seventh for an 11-10 win over Oak Grove.
Fort Osage's Dawn McIntyre slides into second base ahead of the tag from Oak Grove's Morgan Clubb.

With runners on second and third and Oak Grove leading Fort Osage 10-7 in the top of the seventh inning at chilly Fort Osage High School Athletic Complex, Indians third baseman Savannah Short made a headlong dive towards the foul line to snag a hot shot off the bat of Karlie Romines.

Short made a snap throw to first base to beat Romines and end the inning, as her teammates were going berserk in the dugout.

“That play set the stage for the bottom of the inning,” said Lindsey Barker, who tattooed the right field fence to drive in Emma James with the winning run to cap a four-run rally and give the Indians an 11-10 come-from-behind win.

“The girls got so excited when Savannah made that play at third, and it just carried on throughout the inning,” Fort Osage coach Kelly Sullivan said after the Indians improved to 4-1.

“Our girls really support each other – they do it on the field and from the dugout. This was a great team win.”

The improbable seventh inning started with No. 8 hitter Aryia Martin hitting a double off freshman Morgan Clubb, who had been all but unhittable in four-plus innings of relief.

Dawn McIntyre followed with a walk before leadoff hitter Kyra McIntosh laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases.

Alysa Garlock, who went 5-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs, unloaded the bases with a double to tie it. She was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.

James then singled and went to second on an errant outfield throw, and Barker collected her second hit and second RBI with the deep line drive to right to win the game.

“That might be the most important hit I’ve ever had for our team,” said Barker, who is 10-for-15 this season from the plate. “But my hit doesn’t mean anything if Savannah doesn’t make that great play and if all the other girls don’t come through to tie the game.”

Short nodded in agreement as her teammate talked about the dramatic seventh inning comeback.

“I don’t care what the score is, if we’re down by three or up by three, I’m going to do everything I can to make that play and to make a play on any ball hit to me at third,” Short said.

“I could feel all the energy in the dugout when we came off the field for our last at bat and it was a great feeling.”

The offensive contest included 27 hits. Fort led 6-0 early only to see the Panthers roar back to take a 9-6 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Oak Grove added a solo run in the sixth, and the Indians added a solo run in the fifth before the seventh-inning rally.

“The girls in the dugout were on their feet the entire game, and they helped create a great atmosphere,” Sullivan said. “We have so much confidence in our hitters from No. 1 to No. 9 and everyone got it done today.

“When Savannah made that play you could almost sense something special was going to happen, and Alysa gets the big hit with the bases loaded and Lindsay, who has been one of hottest hitters all season, wins the game.

“This is one of those games you’re going to remember for a long time.”

Tomi Lightle played a solid shortstop for the 2-3 Panthers and had a bases-loaded triple. Clubb and Riley Beard each had a double and single.