EUREKA • True to her No. 4 position in the batting order, Eureka’s Samantha Witte cleaned up.
Witte blasted a two-run home run in the fourth inning to propel the Wildcats to a 2-0 win over visiting Lafayette in the Class 4 District 3 softball championship on Monday.
The Eureka third baseman whacked the first pitch she saw of the at-bat from Maddie Seifert and knocked it over the right field wall.
“We had a runner at third, and I was just trying to go with the pitch to get her in,” Witte said. “I wasn’t trying (for a home run). I just wanted to get our runner (Jessica Poore) in from third base.”
While Witte was jubilant over her feat, Lafayette coach Scott DeNoyer was pragmatic about it.
“Unfortunately, it does come down to that one pitch,” DeNoyer said. “I almost take the blame for not calling timeout and letting her know that this is our plan. It was obvious that she was one of those players you target that you don’t want to let beat you. She was a very good hitter. So when it happens, you’re like ‘how did it happen’? I think she’d take it back if she could, but she did a heck of a job moving the ball around, hitting her spots.”
Where Seifert really only made one mistake, Eureka pitcher Maddie Krumrey gave up a couple of hits, but was helped out by her defense and, to an extent, the Lafayette offense.
The first two runners reached for Lafayette in the sixth on a Marissa Gress bunt single and a Kaylee Cohen walk, but that’s as far as it got.
Ashley Parks’ sacrifice attempt failed, as her bunt was caught by Eureka first baseman Hope Waller before Mara Worley popped out to the pitcher and Seifert grounded out to second base.
“I think we missed out on an opportunity to push a run across,” DeNoyer said. “That (missed) sac bunt changed the scenario we were in.”
Krumrey allowed just four base runners – two hits, a walk, and a hit batsman – while striking out seven Lafayette hitters.
She said she was just happy to do her part to help her team advance.
“It doesn’t matter if the other team gets 10 hits,” Krumrey said. “As long as we win, that’s what counts. That is all I want.”
Seifert suffered the loss for Lafayette (17-8, No. 7 in the STLhighschoolsports.com large-schools rankings).
Eureka (18-1, No. 2 LS) will next play at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday in a Class 4 sectional game against No. 1 Webster Groves (23-1) at Plymouth Field, home of the Statesmen.
Earlier this season, Eureka defeated Webster 2-1 to win the Suburban South/West Crossover Tournament.
“We’re now able to come out tomorrow, gets some reps and get ready for Webster,” Eureka coach Mark Mosley said. “It’s good to get these games going quickly. The girls know what we need to do. There’s nothing we need to go over. It’s about just getting the reps and getting the games in.”
The winner of that game will advance to the Class 4 quarterfinals on Saturday against either Cape Girardeau Central or the winner of the Fox/Northwest district final.