State champions

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 11/4/20

SPRINGFIELD — Any other time, one would be the loneliest number.

Saturday afternoon for Vienna Eagle softball, it certainly was not.

Facing Platte Valley’s (Jefferson Conception) …

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State champions

Posted

SPRINGFIELD — Any other time, one would be the loneliest number.

Saturday afternoon for Vienna Eagle softball, it certainly was not.

Facing Platte Valley’s (Jefferson Conception) Lady Eagles, both Eagle softball squads were battling for the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 1 Fall Softball State Championship.

Leading off the game with a double, senior Kadence George scored two batters later on a RBI double off the bat of fellow senior Marsie Messersmith.

“I was really hoping we would’ve scored more just to make me feel a little better,” Messersmith said.

That would turn out to be the game’s lone run with Vienna capturing their first state championship in softball since 1984 with a 1-0 victory over Platte Valley.

“There’s nobody left to play, we’ve beat them all,” long time Vienna head softball coach Mick Byrd said.

Vienna could have done more damage in the first inning.

Karissa Feeler followed Messersmith’s RBI double by reaching on a fielder’s choice.

However, Messersmith was called out for interference when she ran into the shortstop attempting to field the ball.

“There was a lot of things that happened throughout the game and we fought through them,” Messersmith said.

With Feeler at first base, senior catcher Gabby Wilkinson walked putting two runners on base with two outs.

Unable to add to their lead, Vienna took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the first inning and Platte Valley’s first at bat at the plate.

Stepping into the pitcher’s circle, Messersmith now had the task of keeping Platte Valley off the scoreboard.

Allowing a double and hitting a batter with one out, Messersmith struck out the next two hitters keeping it a 1-0 game in favor of Vienna.

“We’ve had stellar defense the past couple of games,” Vienna senior outfielder Alicia Long said. “You could tell all of the seniors wanted to go out on a good note.”

Unable to put a runner on base in the top of the second, Vienna’s Eagles again turned to Messersmith to keep their 1-0 lead intact.

Platte Valley led off the bottom of the second inning with a single before drawing a one-out walk.

After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out, Messersmith stranded two more Platte Valley runners on the bases and Vienna kept their 1-0 lead after two innings.

Adding to her first-inning RBI double, Messersmith singled in the top of the third only to be retired on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Feeler to end the inning.

Keeping the ball on the ground in the bottom of the third inning, Messersmith got three ground-ball outs keeping Platte Valley off the scoreboard.

Platte Valley returned the favor in the top of the fourth inning setting Vienna down in order.

Moving to the bottom of the fourth inning, Platte Valley got a one-out single before Messersmith got two more ground outs to keep Vienna on top 1-0 after four innings of state championship softball.

Vienna was again set down in order in the top of the fifth inning unable to add to their 1-0 lead.

Platte Valley threatened again in the bottom of the fifth.

A lead off single and an error quickly put a runner on second base for Platte Valley.

With one out, a wild pitch advanced the runner to third base before Messersmith put out the fire with a strikeout and a pop out on the infield.

Inning number six saw Vienna with a chance to add to their slim 1-0 lead.

Sadie Novak drew a lead off walk and was replaced on the bases by pinch runner Andrea Novak.

Messersmith laid down a sacrifice bunt advancing Andrea Novak to second base.

Feeler then delivered a single advancing Andrea Novak to third base while Feeler took second base on the throw in from the outfield.

Gabby Wilkinson then lifted what appeared to be a RBI sacrifice fly into center field.

However, Andrea Novak was thrown out at the plate trying to score for the third out of the inning.

That play gave Platte Valley the momentum moving to the bottom of the sixth inning.

Thriving in late-game situations, Messersmith calmly retired Platte Valley in order keeping Vienna in the lead 1-0 after six innings.

“I wouldn’t trade her (Messersmith) for anyone in the state,” Byrd said. “We had good scouting reports and Marsie executed the game plan perfectly.”

Unable to turn a one-out walk from Molly Otto into any insurance runs, Vienna now found themselves three outs from their first state title in 36 years.

Messersmith and the Vienna defense just needed to survive one last at bat from Platte Valley.

Striking out the first batter, Messersmith then allowed a walk before a fielder’s choice yielded the second out of the inning.

After an infield single, Kayla Hertzing caught the final out on a line drive putting the final touch on Vienna’s first state softball championship since 1984.

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