It took nine innings for Raymore-Peculiar to overcome rival Belton.
The Panthers finally captured a 2-1 victory for the Class 4, District 13 championship Oct. 11 at Grandview.
The win was an important one to Raymore-Peculiar, especially to its five seniors.
“It was extremely important,” Raymore-Peculiar senior catcher Rebekah Mueller said. “It is my senior year and it’s Belton and belton is our rival. We knew we had to come back and fight and get it. And we got it.”
The first five innings flew by, with the score remaining at 0-0. Both teams struggled to string together hits and with senior Emily Ross on the mound for Raymore-Peculiar and senior Katie Giacone throwing for Belton, the game looked to be a pitcher’s duel.
But in the top of the sixth inning, with two outs, Mueller connected with a fastball and the ball sailed over the center field wall for a home run. Raymore-Peculiar led 1-0.
“I felt great,” Meuller said. “As soon as the pitch was pitched, I knew it. My bat, we have a good connection. I felt great after that, pumped up and ready to go.”
But in the bottom of that inning, the Pirates answered back. Sophomore Gabrielle Biondo was hit by a pitch and junior Anna Biondo hit a sacrifice bunt Gabrielle Biondo to second base.
Giacone hit a long fly ball to center field that was caught, but not before Gabrielle Biondo made it home to knot the score at 1-1. Freshman Madison Hunsaker grounded out to first to end the inning.
The game stayed tied through the seventh and eighth innings. But in the top of the ninth inning, the Panthers, once again with two outs, started things off with a single from junior Quincy Martin.
Sarah Shatford hit a single with Erika Carvan put in as a pinch runner. Then Lauryn Deer singled on an overthrown error to first base, which allowed Martin to score and put Raymore-Peculiar ahead 2-1.
In the bottom of the ninth, Belton started things off as Anna Biondo was walked.
“I was up and down,” Ross said. “I was really nervous part of the game. They were really loud so it kept me nervous.”
Giacone‘s fly ball was caught next and Hunsaker singled. But Hunsaker’s hit went to second base to force out Anna Biondo, giving the Pirates two outs.
Sophomore Molly Chevalier smashed a double, but sophomore Aubrie Vaughn grounded out to first to end the game.
The Panthers, 21-7, hosted Lee’s Summit in the Class 4 sectional Oct. 16. The Pirates end the season with a 22-5 record.
“It’s our last season together and the last season playing for Raymore-Peculiar,” Mueller said. “We want to keep going because we know we can.”