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.
“This loss was a kick to the gut,” Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter said. “The flow of the game wasn’t on our side in the seventh.”
The first four East Marshall batters reached in the seventh inning, and it was Mariah Rasmusson’s two-run single to center field that won the game for the Mustangs.
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 and four of East Marshall’s were in the deciding seventh.
“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.”
The fifth-ranked Mustangs (30-4) will play fourth-ranked Jesup in the regional championship game at 7 p.m. on Monday in Jesup.
Jesup (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.
“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.”
Hannah Birks started the bottom of the seventh 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.
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 Rasmussson hit a 1-0 pitch 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. The throw home was a little late.
Cunningham took the loss in the circle after allowing three earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter in 6 1/3 innings.
After the two-run first inning, the Tigerhawks only got past first base one more time. Underwood singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Madison Gilkison and took third on a ground ball out by Abi Rawlins.
Slycord hit a hard single with one out in the third inning but a line drive to Kodie Hoskey in the circle by Braedynn Rawlins led to an inning-ending double play.
Abi Rawlins had the team’s only other hit in the fifth inning.
The loss by Colfax-Mingo ends the prep careers of Slycord, Cunningham, Braedynn Rawlins, Delaney Underwood and Chelsea Russell.