Indians and Eagles go 11 innings in pitcher's duel

A pitcher’s duel was on display Monday night in Osage Beach.

On one side was School of the Osage’s Skyler Smith and on the other was Southern Boone’s Ashley Osborne as the two pitchers went 10 innings without allowing a single run. Unfortunately for the Indians, the Eagles managed to squeak out a run in the 11th and hang on for a 1-0 victory in the Tri-County Conference battle.

“Offensively we had our opportunities later in the game and just could not capitalize with the runner on third,” Osage coach David Flaspohler said. “Defensively, it was fantastic on both sides and the pitching was great on both sides. It was just one of those nights of solid softball and we just did not capitalize in the latter innings.”

Smith threw a complete game and then some as she went all 11 innings, recording 33 total outs while walking a single batter and striking out five.

“She threw an amazing game, kept the hitters off balance and trusted her defense because we got a lot of ground ball outs and fly ball outs that were set up due to the pitches she was throwing,” Flaspohler noted. “Eleven innings out of her? Hats off to her, it was a great ballgame.”

Southern Boone’s winning run came after a hit-by-pitch, single and an error, but the Indians had more than a few chances to pull ahead before and after as they outhit the visitors nine to six. From the fourth inning on, Osage had nine runners in scoring position and even had the bases loaded in the ninth, but could not find the hit to bring the crucial run home.

In the 11th with two outs, Osage’s Kerrigan Gamm took off for home plate on a wild pitch and dove head first on a close play at the plate. After the cloud of dust settled, the umpire ruled her out to end the game. Gamm, Aly Baker, Arianna Neal, Liberty Gamm and Smith all recorded a hit for the Osage offense and both Gamms, Neal and Baker had multiple hits on the night.

“If we go back and look, we had a lot of quality at-bats and that is kind of what we look at. Yeah, we did not capitalize there at the end, but we had girls fighting and they definitely never gave up,” Flaspohler said. “It is a little tougher to swallow, but we’ll move on from here and head into Bolivar in the first round of districts on Thursday.”

Losing a close game in this fashion may be tough on a team, but there may also be a silver lining as Osage may now be a little more prepared for a battle like this in districts.

“It helps us face adversity and really be accountable in the things that we can do at the plate a little better,” Flaspohler said. “We kind of head in there with the attitude that, ‘Hey, we just went 11 innings with Southern Boone who is one of the top teams in our conference.’ So, yeah districts are going to be fun for us.”

Osage finishes the regular season 11-10 overall and 4-3 in conference play. The Indians will take on host Bolivar in Class 3 District 10 semifinal action Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.