In a quest for its first trip to the Missouri Class 4 Final Four in school history, the Staley High School softball team matched up Saturday with two-time defending state-champion Lee’s Summit. As if that task wasn’t tall enough, Lee’s Summit started pitcher Alexis Crabtree, who no-hit the Falcons during the regular season.
In spite of those odds, Staley coach Jarius Tapp used one word to describe his team’s approach: Confident.
“It might sound crazy sometimes,” Tapp said. “They’re just a really, really confident bunch of girls. They have a belief that, no matter what, they’re going to find a way.”
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They did Saturday.
In walk-off fashion, no less.
Jen Harvey provided the game-winning hit in the seventh inning to lift the Falcons to a 5-4 win against Lee’s Summit.
Staley, 25-6, will play Fox, 24-6, at 10 a.m. Friday in the Class 4 semifinals. The tournament will be held at Killian Softball Complex in Springfield, with the championship scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Marquette, 21-7, will meet Joplin, 26-7, in the other semifinal. Staley defeated Joplin 5-3 in a tournament earlier this season.
“(Monday), getting back to school, was definitely a day the girls were getting the notoriety and attention, and I told them to enjoy it. They deserve that,” Tapp said. “But at the same time, I’m not going (to Springfield) just for a bus ride. I want to win.”
BOYS SOCCER: Injury hampers Warriors
St. Pius X is ranked seventh in the latest Missouri Class 2 boys soccer poll, released over the weekend, but the Warriors will navigate through the remainder of the season without the state’s all-time top scorer.
St. Pius X senior Trevor Cissell broke two bones in his right leg during a match last Wednesday, and he will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery.
Only a week earlier, Cissell broke the Missouri State High School Activities Association career scoring record. He will finish his high school career with 142 goals.
In Missouri Class 4 soccer, Park Hill and Park Hill South will play in the third annual Kick Out Cancer Classic at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Park Hill South.
The proceeds from the game will benefit the Victory Project, and they will be earmarked for kids battling cancer.
GIRLS TENNIS: State tourney update
Liberty junior Alex Rogers and sophomore Riley Kelley won their opening-round match of the Missouri Class 2 doubles tournament Friday before losing back-to-back matches to fall out of the state tournament.
The tandem pulled out a straight-set victory in the championship bracket and then lost a tightly-contested match to Rock Bridge’s Faith Wright and Katherine Dudley in the quarterfinals. Rogers and Kelley then fell to the consolation bracket and lost their next match.
Park Hill South’s Stephanie Boulenger went 1-2 in the Missouri Class 2 singles bracket. After losing a first-round match to Lee’s Summit North senior Logan Morrissey, Boulenger took a straight-set win against Joplin’s Sydney Butler before losing in three sets in the consolation quarterfinals.
Staley junior Natalie Thimgan lost her two singles matches Friday. Thimgan, the first player in school history to qualify for the state singles tournament, finished the season 19-5.