ASHLAND -- On to the next one for the Fatima Lady Comets.
Taylor Baumhoer and Mia Kliethermes combined to toss a one-hit shutout in the circle and Kinzey Woody finished a single shy of the cycle and drove in six runs for the top-seeded Lady Comets, leading to a 10-0 run-rule victory in five innings Monday against the No. 4 seed California Lady Pintos in the semifinals of the Class 3 District 5 Tournament at Southern Boone High School.
Fatima moves on to the district championship with the win, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. today against third-seeded Blair Oaks -- which beat No. 2 seed Southern Boone 6-4 in Monday’s other semifinal.
“After a win you always feel good, but there’s always tomorrow,” Fatima coach Ashlee Schnieders said. “We are at the point of the season where if you don’t win, there isn’t a tomorrow. So that’s what my girls are really focused on continuing to play hard, play their game and move on to the next day.”
Baumhoer was perfect in the circle for the first three innings, striking out eight of the nine batters she faced without allowing a baserunner.
She set the tone from the first pitch and struck out the side in the top of the first.
“It’s great to have Taylor be such a strong presence in the circle,” Schnieders said. “She’s doing her job and she’s doing everything right right now.”
Hannah Heisler may not have reached to lead off the bottom of the first, but her hard lineout to center field was a sign of things to come for the Lady Comets at the plate.
“She got an out, but she hit the ball which gives confidence to the rest of the team that just because that first at-bat didn’t go well doesn’t mean it’s not going well the rest of the game,” Schnieders said. “So, ‘Hey I got out, but we can hit the ball hard and that’s what we are going to do.’”
Fatima stranded the bases loaded in the first, but the Lady Comets broke through in the second.
Emerson Williams walked to lead off the frame and the bases ended up loaded with one out following a sacrifice bunt leading to an error by Kailtyn Plassmeyer and a walk from Heisler.
Woody delivered and cleared the bases, driving an inside pitch to right-center field for a three-RBI double.
“The majority of her at-bats are big at-bats,” Schnieders said. “It’s really nice to have her open that up. It gets the girls going and everyone else wants to follow.”
Faith Jaegers followed with an RBI groundout to extend the lead to 4-0 after two innings.
Fatima took advantage of a few California miscues in the third for three unearned runs.
Kristen Robertson reached on a three-base error with one out and scored two batters later on an infield single by Elise Dickneite. Plassmeyer reached on another error to follow, and both Dickneite and Plassmeyer came around to score after an errant throw found its way down the right-field line to make it 7-0 headed to the fourth inning.
“We tell them all the time, put the ball in play and put pressure on the defense and make them make plays,” Schnieders said. “That’s what we work toward.”
The Lady Comets went to Mia Kliethermes in the circle to start the fourth.
Peyton Dunham reached on an infield single as the first batter, but a double play erased the threat.
Kliethermes faced just six batters in her two innings and struck out two.
“We just really need her to stay fresh,” Schneiders said. “We need to give her experience in the circle. So there we are just working through all of our pitches, making sure she’s still got it and she knows that she’s important to our team. So she has to show up, too.”
Woody put an end to the contest in the fifth.
Avery Brandt led off with a pinch-hit single and Heisler singled two batters later to bring Woody to the plate as the potential game-ending run.
Woody wasted no time and drove a low liner over the fence in left-center field on just the second pitch of the at-bat for a three-run home run, her 13th of the season, to end the game by run rule.
“I’m not really surprised,” Schnieders said. “I knew when she was walking up to the plate that she was ready for a good one. She was focused, and she’s always focused in the box, but those are types of swings we get out of her.”
Woody led the way for Class 3 No. 1 Fatima (31-4) with her 3-for-4 effort with six RBI, while Heisler reached base and scored twice.
Dunham picked up the lone hit for California, which ends its season with a 12-15 record, and tossed a complete game in the circle. Duhman gave up 10 runs, six earned, on eight hits and four walks while striking out five.
The Lady Comets will now shift their focus to matchup with Blair Oaks in a district title game for the fourth straight season.