Mustang rally

No. 5 East Marshall overtakes Colfax-Mingo in bottom of the seventh, 3-2

PHOTO BY TROY HYDE/NEWTON DAILY NEWS - East Marshall rallies around Madison Duncan (1) and Emma Pfantz (7) after they scored the tying and game-winning runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to help the Mustangs beat Colfax-Mingo 3-2 in Friday’s Class 2A Region 1 semifinal in Le Grand.

LE GRAND — Colfax-Mingo’s Colbee Cunningham shut down Class 2A No. 5 East Marshall for six innings.

The Tigerhawks scored two early runs and led 2-0 headed to the bottom of the seventh inning, but East Marshall found a way on its home field and rallied to a 3-2 victory in the Class 2A Region 1 semifinals on Friday night.

The first four batters reached in the seventh, and it was Maria Rasmusson’s two-run single to center field that won the game for the 30-4 Mustangs.

“Were we the better team?” East Marshall coach Jary Hoskey asked. “Maybe we were at the end of the game, but Cunningham threw very well against us. She is very good.”

For six innings, the Tigerhawks (22-8) were the better team. Both teams had six hits in the game. Three of Colfax-Mingo’s came in the first inning and four of East Marshall’s were in the deciding seventh.

The fifth-ranked Mustangs will play third-ranked Jesup in the regional championship game at 7 p.m. on Monday in Jesup. The J-Hawks (30-9) defeated South Hamilton 1-0 in the other semifinal.

Colfax-Mingo scored both of its runs in the first inning. Kylie Doty reached on a bloop single to lead off the game. Then back-to-back RBI doubles by Rilee Slycord and Braedynn Rawlins put the Tigerhawks on the board.

East Marshall starting pitcher Kodie Hoskey surrendered only three hits the rest of the way. She left a Tigerhawk runner on third base in the second inning and did not walk a batter in the game.

“We tell her she needs to pitch the first inning practicing,” Coach Hoskey said. “Maybe she wasn’t quite warm. I noticed she was warming up again between the first and second innings. She needs to get warm. We’ll make that adjustment for sure.”

Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter credited Hoskey with making the proper adjustments after the first inning. The Tigerhawks hit the ball hard in the first two frames but had a lot of soft contact the rest of the way.

“Good pitchers make adjustments. We made decent contact but weren’t squaring the ball up much after the first inning,” Poulter said. “We didn’t drive the ball to the gaps. We couldn’t put consecutive hits together. Give credit to their pitcher for making the adjustments she needed to make.”

Hannah Birks started the bottom of the seventh inning with a bloop single to center field. Then Kodie Hoskey hit a double to the gap that C-M center fielder Carley Underwood couldn’t run down.

With a runner on second and third and no outs, a ground ball to Rawlins at first base led to the Mustangs’ first run.

Rawlins fielded the ball and instead of getting an out at first, decided to throw home but Birks slid in ahead of the tag.

“This loss was a kick to the gut,” Poulter said. “The flow of the game wasn’t on our side in the seventh. We couldn’t get to the big hit to the outfield and we had a hiccup at first base. I am not sure why she didn’t tag first base and get an out.”

Emma Pfantz loaded the bases with a bunt single. The Tigerhawks then recorded an out at home when Melinda Puumala hit a ground ball back to Cunningham in the circle. But Rasmusssen hit a 1-0 pitch back up the middle that got through the infield.

Pinch-runner Madison Duncan scored easily and Pfantz scored the winning run after Underwood bobbled the ball in center field and her throw home was late.

“It’s a big win. We have eight seniors and it was big to get them a win in their last home game,” Coach Hoskey said. “I am very happy for them.”

Coach Hoskey said he doesn’t know much about Jesup yet, but he knows they have good hitters.

“Colfax-Mingo’s first five hitters were pretty good, too,” he said. “We’ll adjust and do some scouting. Then we’ll get after it Monday night.”

East Marshall is trying to get back to the state tournament for the first time since going three consecutive seasons from 2012-14.

The win against the Tigerhawks was the Mustangs’ 30th of the season. The last two times East Marshall won at least 30 games, it played in the state tournament.

East Marshall 3, Colfax-Mingo 2

At Le Grand

C-M 200 000 0 — 2 6 1

EM 000 000 3 — 3 6 0

Colbee Cunningham and Chelsea Russell; Kodie Hoskey and Madison Farrington. W–Hoskey (20-3). L–Cunningham (22-7). 2B–C-M: Rilee Slycord, Braedynn Rawlins; EM: Hoskey. LOB–C-M 3, EM 7.