(Coon Rapids) With a 4-3 win Exira-EHK eliminated Coon Rapids Bayard from postseason play in Class 1A Region 8.
In back-to-back nights Exira-EHK has played 20 innings and the Spartans have come away with two regional tournament wins. After defeating Walnut 11-6 in 10 innings on Thursday night the young Spartans took 10 innings to edge Coon-Rapids Bayard 4-3 on Friday. Exira-EHK never trailed in the game but saw their early 2-0 lead cut in half with a Coon Rapids-Bayard run in the 4th. After Exira-EHK extended the lead back to two runs in the top of the fifth inning CRB responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to knot things at three apiece. That’s where the game stood for the next four complete innings—a three-all dead lock. While Exira-EHK’s bats cooled off from the 6th through the 9th, Coon Rapids-Bayard had several chances that went awry. The Crusaders left the bases load in the 6th, had a runner caught stealing third base with no outs in the 7th, and left three runners on base in the 8th and 9th before going down in order in the 10th.
During crunch time of a high stakes game it was a freshman who showed calm under fire. Winning pitcher Rachel Smith (pictured before the game with catcher Chansea Nelson) recorded seven of her eleven strikeouts over the final four innings.
Exira-EHK went 23-5 with a much more veteran group last season but lost in the first round of the regional tournament. This year, with only one senior on the roster, the squad has advanced all the way to the Regional Final.
Exira-EHK will take on Charter Oak-Ute for a trip to state on Monday. That game will be played in Denison and we will have the broadcast on KSOM.