Any hopes of an upset bid in the Class 1 District 9 softball championship Saturday afternoon in Edina were quickly doused as the #1 seed Canton flexed its muscles early and often en route to a 13-3 win over Scotland County.
Canton rained on the Lady Tigers parade with an eight-run first inning featuring a pair of home runs, including a grand slam by freshman second baseman Nariah Clay.
Mother Nature was doing plenty of raining herself, as the contest was played amidst light showers that left the playing conditions a bit sloppy and slick.
That didn’t seem to impact Canton (20-1). The #1 seed pounded out four homers in the contest.
Abbey Hultz worked around a two-out walk to Kylee Stott in the top of the first inning before Canton took charge of the contest in the bottom of the frame. They took advantage of some sloppy play by SCR-I to put the big inning together. Hultz reached on an error to lead off the frame. She advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit. A sacrifice fly plated the second run, but SCR-I looked poised to get out of the frame down just 2-0.
Canton had other plans, mounting a six run two-out rally to chase starter Kaitlyn McMinn. After a base hit and a pair of walks, McMinn hit Brilyn Pearl to force in a run. Clay followed with a grand slam to make the score 7-0 and end McMinn’s day. Hultz rudely greeted reliever Hanna Anders with a homer to cap off the huge start for Canton.
Canton tacked on a pair of runs in the second inning and looked headed for more before leaving the bases loaded when Baileigh Phillips gunned down a runner at the plate to end the threat.
Scotland County managed a base runner in each inning. Walks to Abby Curry and Anders in the fourth gave SCR-I its best scoring chance but Hultz escaped unscathed.
Scotland County finally got on the board in the top of the fifth inning. McMinn led off with a drive to left field that went in the books as a single as she slipped on the wet bag rounding first. Morgan Blessing followed with a base hit to put runners at the corner. Katie Feeney delivered an infield single to plate McMinn. She stole second base and the throw got away, allowing her to come all the way around to score following Blessing across the plate to cut the lead to 10-3.
The momentum was short lived as Pearl cracked her first career homer in the bottom of the fifth. Hultz then connected on her second homer of the game, a two-run walk-off, ending the contest by the 10-run rule.
McMinn took the loss for Scotland County. She was tagged for seven runs, one earned on six hits and three walks in two thirds of an inning of work. Anders was charged with six runs on five hits and three walks.
Hultz held Scotland County to just four hits and three walks while striking out eight in five innings of work.
McMinn and Blessing went 1-2 with runs scored while Katie Feeney was 1-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Canton advances to play Atlanta, the District 10 champs who defeated Schuyler County 7-1 on Saturday. Scotland County’s fellow Lewis & Clark Conference schools Fayette (20-5 District 6 champs) and Salisbury (18-5 District 7 champs) also remain alive in the Class 1 Sweet 16.
Scotland County ended the 2019 softball season with an 11-12 record.