EUREKA • While the 5-4 win by the Eureka softball team over conference rival Oakville may have seemed more fingerpaint than Picasso at times, it still wound up being a work of art.
As luck would have it, it was Wildcats left fielder Allie Craft who wound up delivering the most important stroke.
Her two-run, two-out double in the bottom of the sixth erased the one-run Tigers lead and provided the margin of victory for the hosts.
“This team really competes, and we really (take advantage) of the opportunities we’re given,” Craft said. “We can be deep in an inning and still get those key runs.”
With none on and two out, Allie Webb singled and stole a base for Eureka before Jamie Fowle and Samantha Witte walked to load the bases.
Craft stung a one-strike pitch into the gap in left field to score two runs.
The hit was a great thing for Eureka coach Mark Mosley to see.
“Prior to that point, we’d left (something) like 10 runners on in scoring position,” Mosley said. “We’d left runners on second and third multiple times. We had one situation with second and third and nobody out and didn’t score. We were fortunate today, but we’ve got to be better than that. We didn’t play our best, but we’re happy to win.”
The final answer from Eureka (7-0 overall, 1-0 in Suburban West play) came after the Wildcats -- the No. 2 team in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings -- did a lot to help the cause of their opponent.
Trailing 3-1, Oakville scored one third-inning run on a Jordan Michalski RBI single and added two fourth-inning runs on an error, which allowed Alex Frenz to score, and a passed ball, which allowed pinch runner Sadie Auer to score.
“There are a lot of positive things to take out of this,” Oakville coach Rich Sturm said. “We are a fairly young team, but we’ve got to expect to win a game (with a lead) with four outs to go. We basically just played one of the top teams in St. Louis to the wall in, arguably, a winnable game with four outs left.”
After Oakville (6-2, 0-1, No. 3 LS) jumped to the lead in the top of the first inning on a Michalski RBI single, Eureka answered with three straight runs.
A Sam Witte sacrifice fly tied the game in the bottom of the first, and Eureka took the lead with two second-inning runs.
Katelyn Massa led off the second with a towering home run to left field, and Allie Webb added a RBI single to put Eureka up 3-1.
“That gave us confidence going from there,” said Mosley of Massa’s shot. “That was a big hit.”
Maddie Krumrey earned the win for Eureka. She allowed four runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out five.
Michalski suffered the loss for Oakville.
Oakville gets right back to action Wednesday, traveling to Seckman for a 4:15 p.m. game, while Eureka will host Fort Zumwalt West at 4:15 Thursday.