In rivalry games, a lot of times the winner is determined by who has the last at-bat.
That was the case Monday in Hutsonville, as host Hutsonville-Palestine edged county rival Robinson, 7-6, in Little Illini Conference softball action.
"This was a big win," HHS-PHS head coach Nancy Guyer said. "The girls played a great game."
"We just weren't ready to play ball today," RHS head coach Larry Hilderbrand said. "We jumped out early, but it didn't last long. Hutsonville-Palestine bounced back in the bottom of the first and they were on their game. They hit the ball hard and we just couldn't make the plays."
Runs came fast and furious at the start, with Robinson scoring three times in their first at-bat to take an early lead. However, Hutsonville-Palestine responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own, thanks to a three-run home run by Katie Williams, to tie the score. The Lady Tigers added a run in the second to take a 4-3 lead, then stretched their advantage to 6-3 with two more runs in the third. Robinson put together another three-run rally in the fifth, aided by a home run from Madison Bayless, to tie the game at 6-6. The score remained that way until the bottom of the seventh, when Nicole Kiger led off with a solo home run to give Hutsonville-Palestine the walk-off victory.
"That was an exciting finish," Guyer said. "I told Nicole to look for contact because we needed a base runner, but she cranked it. What a great way to end a ball game."
Williams led Hutsonville-Palestine at the plate with a home run and three runs batted, while Kiger homered, singled, scored twice and knocked in a run. Taci Newlin posted two base hits and two runs batted in, Halen Revalee added two singles and a run scored, Emily Nehls singled and scored a run and Kendyl Surrells and McKenna Elder each scored a run.
Myranda Napier earned the win in relief, allowing three runs on three hits in six innings. She also walked three and struck out four. Becky Mendenhall started and went one inning, giving up three runs on four hits while striking out two.
"Offensively, we are hitting the ball well and putting the hits together," Guyer said. "Myranda did an excellent job on the mound for her first varsity outing."
Bayless led the offense for Robinson with a home run, a double, four runs batted in and two runs scored, while Olivia Hickey singled twice and scored two runs. Kyndal Mendenhall added a base hit and two runs scored and Ashlyn Sullivan had a single.
"Madison was our only bright spot," Hilderbrand said. "She hit the ball hard."
Parker Corder took the loss on the mound, allowing seven runs - one earned - on six hits, while walking four and striking out four in six-plus innings.