Republic scored two runs off Ray-Pec pitcher Camryn Stickel in the first inning, but that was as good as it would get for the Lady Tigers all night. Stickel didn’t allow a hit for the rest of the game, striking out 16 to help Ray-Pec to an 11- 2 win in the state sectional game. At one point, Stickel struck out seven batters in a row.
After Ray-Pec took a 1-0 lead, Republic responded with two runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning, and it looked like it would be a typical high-scoring night for the Lady Tigers. Kaitlyn Ragsdale led off with a single and stole second base. Julia Higgins walked, and A.J. Fenske drove them both home with a double. But the hits by Ragsdale and Fenske were the only two Republic would manage all night.
Republic coach Lee Dishman says his team knew it would face a big challenge against Stickel, based on her numbers coming into the night.
“She’s now 17-3 with an earned run average under 1.00. She’s good,” says Dishman. “We got a couple runs there in the first–A.J. stepped up–and [Stickel] just kind of settled in, and she was on.”
The Panthers tied the game 2-2 in the second inning, then scored two more runs in the third and a single run in the fourth to make it 5-2. In the sixth inning, Ray-Pec broke the game open with six runs on eight hits, including a home run by Kate Lewis, to take an 11-2 lead.
It was the last game in a Republic uniform for four seniors: Addi Cantrell, Livi Collier, Julia Higgins, and Megan Thorne. The loss also marked the end of a season that featured 11 come-from-behind wins and earned the team the nickname “The Cardiac Kids.”
Dishman says he’ll remember this year’s team for its leadership.
“This team fought all season. It didn’t matter when we got down or how much we got down. They always thought they were in the game and they’d come back. We were just on the short end of it tonight.”
Republic ended the season with a school record 37 home runs, putting them at fourth all-time in the Missouri record books. They also broke the school single-season doubles mark. Higgins broke multiple records, including single-season school marks for home runs (14) and RBIs (60). Ragsdale broke a record for runs scored (44).
The Lady Tigers end their season at 21-7.