The odds were stacked against the Jefferson City Lady Jays on Saturday.
Playing in the third-place game of the Capital City Invitational, Jefferson City faced a 6-2 deficit against Hickman late in the game and the Lady Jays had a pitcher throwing her first varsity game.
Add in the fact Jefferson City was coming off an emotionally draining extra-inning loss to Rock Bridge in the semifinals and the Lady Jays could have packed it in after falling behind early.
Just the opposite happened.
Jefferson City plated nine runs in the top of the sixth inning and held on to beat Hickman 11-7 on Saturday afternoon at Binder Park.
"We've got some good hitters. Anybody can come through at any time," Jefferson City coach Lisa Dey said.
Trailing 6-2 and struggling to keep pace, the Lady Jays' offense found a spark in the sixth. After a leadoff single by Hannah Hirschvogel, Katie Tambke and Darby Brundage walked. A sacrifice fly by Dakota Newton made it a 6-3 game.
The next batter, Taylor Dey, lined a ball back to the pitcher, who tried to catch the runner at third but threw the ball into left field, allowing a run to score. That error opened the floodgates.
A two-run single by Brooke Rozier tied the score at 6. After a base hit by Alyson Metz, Riley Hayes gave Jefferson City the lead with an RBI single. Emily Williams blew it open with a two-run double.
The big inning came on the heels of Wednesday's game against Helias when the Lady Jays had an eight-run inning.
"It's kind of contagious when they were stringing them together," Lisa Dey said.
Jefferson City had six hits in the inning and sent 13 batters to the plate. Eight different Lady Jays scored runs in the inning, with Hirschvogel plating two. The game ended after six innings due to the time limit.
Until the sixth, Jefferson City's offense had been silent. The Lady Jays picked up two runs in the top of the first thanks to a walk and a Hickman error.
Jefferson City didn't record a hit until Taylor Dey's single to lead off the fifth inning. Hickman pitcher Shannon Gene had been cruising to that point. But it all turned around for the Lady Jays in the sixth, and that proved to be enough for Hirschvogel in the circle.
With pitcher Krista Brickey needing a rest, Lisa Dey said she asked Hirschvogel if she could pitch in the third-place game.
"I said, "Hannah, how do you feel about throwing?' She said, "I'll do it.' So I gave her a shot and she's a tough kid, tough nails, and she did a great job," Dey said.
The Kewpies (9-4) got to Hirschvogel with four runs in the first thanks to a two-run double by Allie Dishinger and a pair of errors that led to two more Hickman runs.
But the sophomore settled down after that. She allowed a home run to Dishinger in the third, an unearned run in the fourth and one more in the bottom of the sixth.
Hirschvogel allowed three earned runs on seven hits while striking out three.
"I guarantee you she never thought she'd be throwing a varsity game, third-place game in a tournament against Hickman," Dey said.
Both teams finished with seven hits.
Despite not reaching the title game, Dey was more than pleased with how the Lady Jays finished the weekend.
"You look back at the Rock Bridge game and we were right there then," Dey said. "We had a chance to win the game. I'm extremely pleased and I'm really proud of these girls."
Jefferson City (9-1) is back in action Tuesday at home against Camdenton.
In action earlier Saturday, the Lady Jays couldn't sneak past the Rock Bridge Lady Bruins as they dropped a 7-6 decision in eight innings.
Metz was 2-for-4. Rozier had a home run while Dey had two RBI and scored two runs. Newton finished with three RBI.
Brickey took the loss, her first of the season.
Jefferson City got off to a good start in the tournament Friday as it opened with a 12-1 win against Lutheran South followed by a 2-1 win against Mexico.
Against Lutheran South, Brickey and Metz each had home runs. Brickey finished with five RBI while Newton added two hits and two RBI.
Against Mexico, the Lady Jays managed just three hits but pulled out the victory. Brickey picked up the win as she struck out three.