CORRECTION (4/13): This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Maleiah Parker dashed home to score the winning run, and not Maya Martin. The Democrat apologizes for its error and misprint.
An early Saturday game in the Kaysinger Conference Softball Tournament that saw a combined 48 runs delayed the schedule at Centennial Park’s field three by more than 90 minutes. The championship game between No. 3-seed Cole Camp and No. 1 La Monte, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., began around 6 p.m.
It was worth the wait.
La Monte’s extra-innings, 8-7 victory over the Lady Bluebirds was a roller coaster of a game emotionally, physically and, for the winners, physiologically.
“I really feel like I want to vomit right now,” La Monte head coach Dabecka Kirk said after the game. “I felt like I wanted to vomit when we started and I felt like I really wanted to vomit when I had a freshman on third base in an extra inning.
“That was the most fun game, ever, for me.”
That freshman was Maleiah Parker. She led off the bottom of the eighth with a triple that rolled past Cole Camp’s right fielder and to the fence.
Maya Martin followed with soft contact to Lady Bluebird pitcher Mackenze Gudde, who looked back the runner and threw to first. Parker dashed home and narrowly beat the throw from first to win the game.
Gudde allowed eight runs on nine hits and three walks in seven innings. She struck out five and hit a 3-run homer in the sixth to give Cole Camp a 1-run lead. La Monte tied the game in the bottom half with a Maleiah Parker double and Lindsey Foster bloop single.
Lady Bluebird head coach Terri Ward said her team did all they could.
“We just wanted to come out and compete hard,” Ward said. “I felt like we did that. Our kids go out and they play hard and they play with a lot of heart. This group of kids is just so deserving. They do everything that is asked of them. And that’s why it hurts so bad to lose.”
Madison Harris pitched eight innings and allowed seven runs on 20 hits. She walked zero and struck out five.
She said she didn’t have her best stuff in the circle, and echoed her coach’s post-game sickness.
“I’m very excited,” Harris said. “I just felt really, really nervous. Even through the game I just felt like I wanted to throw up the whole time because they were hitting really well and my pitches just weren’t moving.”
La Monte’s offense picked up their pitcher. Katie Patrick was 3-for-3 at the plate with a walk, a home run and a double in the seventh that bounced off the top of the fence, inches away from winning the game, walk-off style.
After her 2-run blast in he fifth, Patrick admits to watching her near-second homer of the day.
“I kept saying in my head over and over again, ‘please go out, please go out, this could be two,’” Patrick said. “But you know doesn’t work out that way, that’s OK. I was really happy to at least get one senior year. Took me four years, so, it was exciting.”
The Lady Vikings took a 4-2 lead in the third when a 2-out, bases-loaded Vada DeMotte single rolled by centerfielder Darian Burton and to the fence. Cole Camp tied the game in the fourth on a Shelby Sprinkle single.
Lincoln earned third place with a 9-3 victory over Windsor.
La Monte hosts Crest Ridge tonight at 5 p.m.
Cole Camp faces Santa Fe tonight on the road at 4:30 p.m.
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-530-0142 ext. 1484 or on twitter at @abagueros2