It took longer than expected, but the Switzerland County Lady Pacer softball team shook off a charge from rival Milan on Tuesday night to advance to the championship game of the Class 2A Sectional, being held here at the Lady Pacer Field.
The game went nine innings, and Switzerland County won when Nora Hankins singled in the bottom of the second extra frame to bring home Allie Bruce with the game winner.
The Lady Pacers now take on Southwestern tonight (Thursday) at 6 p.m. for the Sectional title.
Switzerland County jumped out to a quick lead in the first inning when leadoff hitter Jessie Duvall was hit by a pitch and then Maddie Duvall reached when the Milan catcher couldn’t hold on to the ball after a strikeout, and Maddie beat the throw to first. Bruce then drove runs home with a shot to third that the Lady Indian fielder couldn’t handle. Ariel Oeffinger then drew a walk to put two on, but Madesyn Byrd grounded out to second to end the threat.
After Milan went out in order in the second, Switzerland County went right back to work in the bottom of the frame, as Hankins had a one-out single and then Maddie Duvall singled with two outs before Lily Sparks drove them both home with a double.
Up 4-0, Switzerland County saw Milan begin to chip into the lead with a run in the top of the fourth and two more in the fifth. The Lady Indians then tied the game with a single run in the top of the sixth.
That led to scoreless innings for both teams in the seventh and eighth innings, and Milan failed to score in the ninth before Hankins’ heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
In Tuesday’s first semifinal, Southwestern beat Austin by a final score of 6-0 to advance.