MONROE CITY, Mo. – Isabella Goldinger knew she was making a high-risk play.
The reward was much higher.
The second baseman for the Palmyra softball team was on first base when Abbey Redd put down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the fifth inning. Goldinger, however, didn't settle for just second base and broke for third on the play and just slid in safely under the tag.
“I read the defense was playing back and wanted to take the opportunity to get an extra base,” Goldinger said. “I wanted to give us that boost of momentum.”
It turned out to be exactly what Palmyra needed.
Megan Stone followed with a double to score Goldinger and break a tie ball game, and Cameron O'Brien singled home Stone as Palmyra went on to beat Monroe City 7-1 in the Class 2 sectional game Wednesday night.
Palmyra will host Father Tolton, a 6-1 winner over Linn, Saturday at Flower City Park with a spot in the state tournament on the line.
“It was totally worth it,” Goldinger said. “That's what we needed.”
Even though it wasn't exactly what Palmyra coach Jill Arch wanted Goldinger to do at the time.
“Sometimes they don't listen, and sometimes it pays off,” Arch said with a smirk. “That's a part of softball. Sometimes that's what you have to do.”
Monroe City threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning when Madison Moss was hit by a pitch and Lauren Youngblood walked with one out. Palmyra pitcher Lydia Althoff, however, got out of the jam with a fielder's choice and a strikeout to preserve the lead. Monroe City was retired in order in the sixth.
Palmyra's lead ballooned with a four-run seventh as Redd had an RBI single, and O'Brien drew a bases-loaded walk after Monroe City intentionally walked Stone to load the bases. Jazlin Gottman drove in another run on an RBI single and so did Sophie Hoerr, which made it 7-1.
Monroe City couldn't do anything with a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh.
Monroe City's best opportunity came in the bottom of the fourth when Bailee Hays and Riley Quinn hit back-to-back one-out singles. They both advanced a base on a passed ball with still one out.
Palmyra's Brooke Lawson, however, got two strikeouts to strand the runners and keep the game tied at 1-1.
“We just needed one hit to get that jump,” Monroe City coach Melissa Chinn said. “It just didn't happen for us tonight.”
Palmyra struck in the top of the first when Stone ripped a one-out triple to right and scored on O'Brien's RBI groundout. Monroe City answered right back when Youngblood walked, and advanced all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mackenzie Moss. Youngblood scored on a sacrifice fly by Danielle Pfanner.
Palmyra had 11 hits as Stone, Bailey Lovelace and Hoerr each had two. Hays had two of Monroe City's six hits.
Lawson threw four innings, allowing one run on four hits while striking out four. Althoff threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.