Unbeaten Eagles pull out another extra-inning win, top Fort Osage

By Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner

For the second time this week Grain Valley ended up playing extra innings and left with a victory.

However, this one – against Fort Osage in eight innings on Thursday – was a little more emphatic.

The Eagles scored seven runs in the top of the eighth inning and kept the Indians off the board in the bottom half to win 14-7.

“It was an interesting game all around,” Grain Valley coach Garrett Ogle said. “We had an extra-inning game on Monday against Lee’s Summit and we won 6-5. We gave up two runs in the top of the seventh and we won on a squeeze in the eighth.

“You don’t usually see seven runs in extra innings; they definitely battled. They have a knack for clutch situations and they rise to the opportunity they were given. We have a great group of girls with a lot of talent and a lot of ability. We just need to put it together.”

The victory vaults the Eagles to 8-0 on the season and got the Suburban Middle Six Conference title hunt off to a good start by winning the opener.

BriLeigh Sims reached on an error to lead off the eighth inning. After Avery Huffman beat the throw to first on the fielder’s choice, Malia Gutierrez doubled down the right field line to break the tie.

Ella Clyman’s second RBI – she finished 4-for-5 – followed, but the Eagles scored five more runs with two outs to put it out of reach. Emma Jane Ogle and Cameryn Brown added RBI singles, while two errors and a passed ball racked up three more runs.

“It was pretty crazy,” Sims, who had two hits and scored twice, said of the eighth inning. “We shouldn’t have been in extra innings, I don’t think. I think it was good we came back and were able to hit when we needed to. We knew (losing) wasn’t an option and we could be doing better than we were.”

Grain Valley extended its winning streak against Fort Osage to seven in a row dating back to 2014 – which includes a district victory last year.

This contest was a slugest early, then a pitcher’s duel and then had tense moments late that saw the Indians rally to force extra innings.

Of the 21 runs, 11 of those combined runs came in the first two innings.

An error led a run for Grain Valley in the first inning, but Fort Osage tied it on Emma James’ RBI single and took a 2-1 lead on a throwing error.

A five-run second inning gave the Eagles a 6-2 lead, an advantage that lasted through the final inning of regulation.

Clyman reached on a leadoff single and then advanced from first to third base on a sacrifice bunt after she discovered no one covering third base. Jade Stone followed with an RBI single to tie it 2-2.

Emma Jane Ogle’s RBI triple gave the Eagles the 3-2 lead, and Brown followed with a sac fly. Sims’ RBI single and Clyman’s RBI fielder’s choice accounted for the final two runs.

Senior Kyra McIntosh – following a walk to Dawn McIntyre and an error that allowed Bailey Rinacke to reach – belted a three-run home run in the bottom half of the second to pull the Indians (6-2, 0-1) within 6-5

After a four-inning scoreless stretch, Grain Valley added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Clyman led off with a single and her courtesy runner, Addy Lyford, stole second, advanced to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch.

That insurance run proved vital for the Eagles’ chances to stay undefeated. The Indians scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to extend the game.

McIntosh drew a one-out walk and stole second base and scored on a throwing error by Grain Valley on a sac bunt. Neveah Wilson, who had the bunt, moved up a base when Alysa Garlock reached on an infield single.

A double steal turned into an out at third base for the Indians, but Garlock made it to second. A bizarre sequence then sent the game into extra innings. 

As James swung for the second strike, a couple of the Grain Valley players headed toward the dugout thinking the inning and game was over. With one strike left, James made the most of it with a single to left field to score Garlock and tie it 7-7. 

James went 2-for-4 at the plate, the only Indian with multiple hits.

Grain Valley had a 16-6 advantage in hits. Six of the nine starters for Grain Valley had at least two hits. 

Fort Osage got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kiley Mickey drew a walk with one out, but a fly ball to left field and a small looper to second base ended the game.

“Up until the last inning, it was a great game,” Fort Osage coach Kelly Sullivan said. “I’m very proud of them; they didn’t give up and they kept fighting. That is what I said in the meeting – if you take away one inning, it was an amazing game. I’m pleased with the comeback and I’m pleased with what they accomplished. They stuck with Grain Valley and they are an amazing team. For sure, the girls did great and we saw some things to work on. I’m ready to play them again.”

The rematch will come on Sept. 29 in Grain Valley.